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Jan 21

Preschool adjustment


We had Julie’s preschool conference last week, and overall, my girl is adjusting well.  She likes preschool and likes it more the longer she goes.  She’s not much of a joiner, not yet.  Is that something you can change?  The only one of my kids who consistently likes to be around other kids is Sam.  Jessie is happiest when she’s with older or younger kids.  And apparently, my Julie is following in her footsteps.  Liliya, her teacher, said that it’s completely normal, especially for a kid who’s got a lot of older siblings.  She’s just more “teacher oriented”.

Every morning, we had a routine.  I’d bring her in her, we’d pick a book and I’d put her in the castle.  I don’t like the castle, as it reminds me a little much of a cage, but it made her feel safe and calm.  She’d give me a kiss on the stairs, and then reach up high over the bars and kiss me twice.  Then I’d rush out the door.  And Girlfriend would stay up there.  In the castle.  She’d come down, if a teacher came and asked her to come participate in a classroom activity, but she’d go right back up there afterwards.  And if a child came to ask her to play, she’d politely decline and would stay up there, entertaining herself with her book or watching the other kids.

I know the castle worked for her.  I know that it was a helpful tool to help her feel as though she had her own space, and gave her the opportunity to figure out what preschool is and what happens there.  And I also know that you can’t change her basic nature (nor do I want to).  If she’s introverted and not a joiner, that’s perfectly fine, but I don’t think that’s who she is.  She’s my social bug, she’s the one, of all three of my children, who happily engages other adults in conversation, who likes being around a lot activity.

One of the more dominating factors in Julianna’s early childhood is watching her older brother.  And Sam’s had significant problems with anxiety and fears around separation, and I worry that part of Julie’s reluctance to join isn’t hers, really, but more of a learned trait from watching Sammy.    I’m also concerned because the castle has become her spot, and now it’s her default to be uninvolved in the classroom.   The other kids play, Julie sits and watches.  Her teacher wasn’t overly concerned, partly because she’s only there for two and a half hours, twice a day, and reiterated that Julie didn’t appear to be at all unhappy up there, she just likes to observe.  I didn’t want to take it away cold turkey, because it works for her, but I also wanted to encourage her to participate, not just watch.

Last Thursday (the first day after the conference), we packed a book for her to read to her class.  And she was so excited about bringing it in and showing her teacher.  And her teacher was wonderful, she immediately got all the other kids over and sat them all down to read.  Julie never glanced at the castle, and spent the entire day playing with a little girl named Katie.  She was so happy!  Today was a little rougher, it was the first day back after a long weekend, and she had napped yesterday (which meant that she was up until close to midnight) so was still sleepy and clingy.  She was crying and upset, but Liliya took her hand and asked if she’d be the helper.  She was teary, but not in the castle.

I feel like this is almost a whole new preschool experience for her, as if we spent the first few months getting used to just going SOMEWHERE without Mama and being okay. And she’s got that down.  Now we need to have her tackle the next goal, being with kids her own age and having fun.

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