A Note from Our Principal
Dear McFarland Families,
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year. Thank you so much for your generosity last month. Our teachers, administrative team, and I truly appreciate all the thoughtfulness and care we received. We also thank you for your participation in our holiday giving initiative. Because of your contributions, we were able to make Malani’s Christmas a little better through Anchors of Hope Ministries. (https://www.anchorsofhopeministries.org)
It may be only January, but it’s time to start planning for the fall! There has been an overwhelming demand for our January Open House, so we want to make sure you secure your child’s spot for next school year. Priority re-enrollment will run from Feb 5 – March 1. More information will be sent via Links 2 Home.
Open House / Family Referral Bonus
Do you know a colleague who has recently had a baby, a friend in need of care who just relocated to the area, or a family member who is seeking a new preschool for their child? Invite them to our Open House on January 20. When you refer a friend and they enroll, you’re eligible for a free week of tuition. Ask us for details!
Virtual Potty-Training Workshop on January 29th
Are you ready to take that next step? Do you need ideas or support to make your child’s potty training a success? Save the date for our Virtual Potty-Training Workshop on January 29. Learn tips and techniques to ensure a successful, positive experience. Registration link will be sent soon.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
We explore diversity and inclusion all year and have many lessons planned this month to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. We’ll be reading books, making arts and crafts, discussing the importance of acceptance, and belonging, and much more.
Did You Know?
Studying important people throughout history highlights models of good citizenship and courage, helps identify appropriate social interactions, and improves decision making and judgment.
January 1 – School CLOSED for New Year’s Day
January 10 – Fire Truck Visit
January 15 – School CLOSED for MLK Jr. Day
January 17 – #Wear Blue Day
January 19 – National Popcorn Day
January 22 – National Polka Dot Day (Wear Polka Dot)
January 26 – Read with Ritu
January 29 – National Puzzle Day
January 29 – Virtual Potty-Training Workshop
January 31 – End-of-month folders go home
New On Our Preschool Blog
Bye-Bye Blues: Helping Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety
Let’s resolve those drop off fears and tears as we chat with our Behavior Specialist Consultant, Amber Fine. Amber has spent the last decade in the mental health sector, in both public and private services, supporting children and their families. She is proficient in the area of Infant Mental Health and is a licensed psychotherapist in the state of Florida.
Hi Amber! When does separation anxiety typically manifest in young children and what are some signs that families can look out for?
Amber: Separation anxiety is a developmentally appropriate behavior that can present itself around 6-8 months and typically peaks in toddlerhood. These behaviors can start to dissipate after 2 years but can ebb and flow depending on circumstances occurring in the child’s life. Any new transition may contribute to separation anxiety. We sometimes see behaviors such as difficulty separating from caregivers, difficulty with emotional regulation (which may present as crying, yelling, or emotional outbursts), excessive worry, disturbance in sleep routine, and somatic symptoms like stomach aches or nausea.
What are some strategies families can implement to help their child cope with separation anxiety when leaving for preschool?
Amber: Strategies will differ for all children, depending on what brings them comfort. I think most importantly, the strategies used will carry themes of comfort, planning, and preparation. When children know what to expect, it can help them in preparing themselves.
Make your child’s morning as comfortable as possible, prior to drop-off. This might entail eating breakfast together, listening to their favorite music, or talking about all the fun things you will do as a family later that night.
If you’re preparing your child for a new environment, visit the school prior to the first day, with the child present, allowing them to meet their teacher and explore their new classroom. If the school allows, send a comfort item in with the child, which can allow for them to feel more connected to home. Partner with teachers and staff, educating them on what your child likes, doesn’t like, and what can help when your child is experiencing big emotions. If you have a positive and excited disposition and tell your child what a great day they are going to have, they will likely follow suit.
How can families strike a balance between addressing their child’s separation anxiety and encouraging their independence?
Amber: You want to ensure you are acknowledging and validating your child’s feelings, while also projecting confidence and providing reassurance. Talking through the routine of the day, the people your child will interact with, and all the fun activities they are going to do can help to ease your child’s drop-off fears. Also,
discuss with your child when they can expect someone to pick them up, who it will be, and ensure appropriate follow through.
Are there play or social activities that can aid in fostering a sense of independence and confidence?
Amber: Extracurricular activities are a great way to begin exposing children to peers, other adults, and expected social norms, while instilling a sense of independence and confidence. Some ideas include play dates, children’s fitness classes, intramural sports, and children’s classes at your local library. When your child is engaged in fun activities like these, they won’t even realize they are learning important social-emotional skills.
How can families manage their own feelings of guilt or worry when leaving their child who is experiencing separation anxiety?
Amber: Just as you would prepare your child, it’s equally important to prepare yourself for this new experience. Familiarize yourself with the staff at your child’s new school, understand their daily routine, and establish expectations for communication. Investing time in helping your child build connections with their new teacher, peers, and surroundings can significantly ease their worries, which will ultimately put the entire family more at ease.