For some children the idea of being left in a classroom with an adult relatively unknown to them is simply going to be too much. If you think this is the case for your child, or if you have just had a very difficult go trying to settle your child into their new classroom, then it might be a good idea to implement a gradual entry protocol. Gradual entry allows your child to experience a literal transfer of the connection spark to the teacher. A general gradual entry plan might be something like this:
- Parent and child come together, spend a short time (15-30 minutes) together in the classroom, and then leave together.
- Parent and child come together, spend 10-15 minutes together in the classroom, parent leaves, and child stays a short time (1 hour) on own before parent returns and they leave together.
- The child’s time on his or her own is gradually extended to include one major transition at a time (i.e. library time, snack time, recess, lunch time, etc.) while parent’s time in the classroom at the start of the day with child is gradually reduced.
The speed at which each child progresses through this will be highly variable and unique to each of their situations. However, a gradual entry protocol would be at least a full school week, and for some children it will in fact take several weeks. As a parent the important thing is to take your cues from the child and adjust accordingly.