Many kindergarteners find it difficult to come out of their shells in their new classroom setting, even when they are coming from a preschool class where they were able to socialize with other children and teachers. Perhaps they worry because their new Montessori private kindergarten class is bigger than their preschool class or because it has more students and classmates of different ages at different stages.
Many parents wonder what they can do to give their shy, timid child a boost when it comes to socializing in kindergarten. Whether your child is simply a quiet one or is battling pre-kindergarten anxiety that is making them clam up, here are a few tips for helping them succeed and feel comfortable in their new Montessori kindergarten classroom.
Play Dates and Familiar Faces
One way to help your child feel more comfortable in their new classroom is to ease them into a social activity with other children their age. Maybe you know of another child who will be in their Montessori school, or better yet, in their private kindergarten class. As a parent, you can help smooth out some bumps in the road to kindergarten by arranging for your children to meet with others they will encounter at school.
Furthermore, if your child hasn’t had the opportunity to spend much time with other children because they did not attend preschool or have friends that live close by, you can find playgroups and kid-friendly classes in your area. Encouraging socialization with children their age can help to boost your child’s confidence and social skills, teaching them age-appropriate life skills and manners that will aid them in their transition to kindergarten.
Role-playing or playing school is a sure way to help your child understand classroom behavior and expectations. Increasing their confidence and decreasing shyness and anxiety can be as simple as setting aside time each week to set up a classroom at home. You can practice the ‘off-to-school’ ritual by packing your child’s lunch box and leaving belongings in a makeshift cubby area. Parents can act as the teacher and have children rehearse how to enter the classroom, making eye contact and greeting the teacher as they do.
Role-playing is a strong method of readying your child to feel more confident when it comes to making friends with other kids and interacting with their teacher. Practicing conversations and responses can take the pressure off of children when they are in a real-life situation that requires it, so take turns asking, “What’s your name?”, “Do you want to play?” and other phrases they would use in social situations.
Many children entering a private kindergarten class experience separation anxiety, especially if they are not used to being apart from their family due to summer vacation or not having been enrolled in a preschool program previously. While separation anxiety is entirely normal behavior and a sign of a meaningful attachment between parent and child, it can hinder your child’s ability to thrive in their new kindergarten classroom.
To help your child combat their separation anxiety, start with separation practice. Practice can look like leaving your child in the care of a family member or friend when running errands, or encouraging your child to go on play dates without you. If possible, start with shorter practice separation periods from your child, and gradually spend more time apart after they adapt to being in new situations with new people.
Visit the Classroom
Finally, familiarity with the classroom is another way of making sure your child knows what to expect when they go to kindergarten. Visiting their classroom and potentially their new teacher can help your shy student feel more comfortable when they arrive at school on the first day. Many Montessori schools encourage touring the school with your child, and you may even be able to have your child visit the classroom, students, and teacher they will be assigned to for the coming year.
By slowly exposing your child to their new school, you can help to decrease the stress in their mind about new faces and places. It doesn’t have to be a big deal and parents can make the visit seem like it is just another day. This will slowly but surely build a positive relationship with their new classroom or school.
The Montessori School of Pleasanton offers toddler, preschool and kindergarten programs that inspire children to love learning. Our toddler, preschool and kindergarten programs are best suited for children aged 18 months to 6 years. It is our aim to help your child reach their greatest potential. Reach out today to begin your journey with The Montessori School of Pleasanton.