Once the enrollment process is completed, visit the school grounds with your child to establish familiarity.
Explore the playground and green space, look at the trees and plants, walk through the neighborhood, collect rocks, lie in the grass and observe the clouds.
Gradually and in a low-key manner, these short visits will give your child a sense of ownership toward his or her new surroundings, free of any anxiety that a well-meaning parent might impart.
Look at your home environment. Create a calm, peaceful, structured, but laid back home life for your child, free of the stress and anxiety of the adult world. This might require deep introspection and an honest analysis of yourself, your family dynamic, and your child.
Think about your child's independence within your home. What task can he or she do independently without your help or intervention?
Look at your family routine: Does the day revolve around the child's needs or the adult's needs?
Think about what you do together. Is your family time enriching or passive? If necessary, make changes. Start small.
Become a student of the Montessori philosophy. Open yourself to the process of discovery through the study of human development through the Montessori method. The more you learn, the better you will understand the importance of putting your child's needs first and the stronger our partnership will be.
Take time to (re)discover your passions. What inspires your own love of learning and thirst for understanding? Dedicate a few minutes each day to this pursuit.
Throw out all the scary and overwhelming child development books gathering dust and causing you anxiety and start with the suggested readings in Resources.
Read the Full Circle's Parent Handbook thoroughly, but don't worry if you have not committed its contents to memory. Keep it handy for reference.
As Allyn Travis of the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee reminds us "...we have to keep reading and learning ourselves so that we have a better understanding of ourselves and can pass that understanding on to the children...We need to continue to be learners, we need to continue to be interesting, well-rounded people, we need to learn something new to bring to the children..."
Check in with yourself and, if applicable, your partner. When was the last time you did something for yourself, or alone, without the children? Don't be a martyr! When you are excited about life and make yourself more interesting you are more fun to be around--and your child will benefit.
Meet Your Child's Directress:
In August you will receive an email invitation from your child's Directress for a 10-15 minute classroom get-together, usually held the week prior to Labor Day. This visit re-introduces the Directress and the classroom to the child (and to you) in a relaxed manner. (Contact the office for availability of mid-year start dates).
Orientation Day for Young Children's Community and Primary:
The first day of school (the Tuesday after Labor Day) is attended only by returning students. Over the following month, new Young Children's Community and Primary students are integrated into the classroom at a rate of one new student per day (order determined by age, Montessori experience, and via random lottery). The day PRIOR to your child's first day of school is called his Orientation Day, during which you and your child are invited for a 5 to 10 minute joint classroom visit to observe (but not engage with) the children at work.
First Day Young Children's Community and Primary:
On your child's first day of school you pull into the drop-off line and a staff member will help your child out of the car (you stay behind the wheel!). The morning routine is key to a smooth transition. From the first day, establish your good-bye routine. Separation anxiety is common, but is usually short-lived when the child knows what to expect, and when the physical separation is quick. Morning drop-off is drive-through style. After a hug and a kiss (or whatever you establish as your good-bye routine), allow the staff to help your child out of the car. Remember the key is to be consistent and quick. The staff is experienced in helping children (and parents) through the separation process. When the transition is tough, parents are welcome to call the school for reassurance that their child has settled happily into her work.
Elementary Phase In:
The first day of school is attended by returning Elementary children. On the first Friday of the first week of school, all new Elementary children are integrated into the classroom.
"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."- Dr. Maria Montessori