Reactions to starting nursery school/creche

starting nursery school

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in the last week or so. I’m sorry for my absence – I really have wanted to write but a number of things have conspired against me. My day job was absurdly busy, I had a day with power issues that led to internet issues, and I was so tired in the evenings that I actually just wanted to zone out while bingeing on something on Netflix. However, the biggest reason is because I wanted to write about Harley starting at her play school/nursery school/creche, but my feelings about it hadn’t quite settled into a form I could write about it. Now, they have, and i think it’s important to write about the various emotions that come from starting nursery school.

First up, I knew that I was sending Harley to a good place. Like, I really really knew it. I didn’t have reservations about the school – I had asked all my questions, and popped in for visits at random times of day, and I was impressed by the answers as well as by what I saw first hand. While that made things easier, that didn’t make things easy.

Harley had a hard time adapting to nursery school at the start. She would scream. Not just at drop off and pick up, but ALL. DAY. The first few days, I was either with her most of the time, or she only stayed for a few hours. But eventually, I had to start going to work and she had to settle in. But it really wasn’t great – she would cry a lot, and then insist on being held by the teacher or the teacher’s aides. I was really concerned. Was 13 months too early to start nursery school? Was she just not ready to be apart from me? Was I traumatizing her? Should I have gone the au pair route instead of school? Was I a terrible mommy for leaving her?

I felt awful, and her screams and cries would break my heart every morning when I left.

Then, she started to get used to it. After a week at school, she wouldn’t cry in the day anymore, but she still insisted on being held the whole time. She would still cry when I said goodbye, but she was fine before I got out the security gate at the school, before I even got to my car.

Yesterday marked two weeks at school, and she finally played at school. She played on the swings, played with the other kids for carpet time. She didn’t cry, didn’t need to be held the whole time, didn’t nap. She played. I was (and am) overjoyed. That first week was really so very hard, but I told myself that I would give it a bit of time for her to get comfy with the people, with the environment, with being away from her parents. It was bound to take time, and I wanted to make sure she was okay in the process, but she is settled there now. She actually enjoyed herself yesterday, which is all I really wanted for her.

Now, I can leave her at school with a lighter heart, with the knowledge that it really is good for both of us, necessary for both of us.


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  • VampyreSquirrel

    My niece started nursery school about 2 weeks ago, and she’s 7 months old. That child loves playing with the other kids and from all reports is exceedingly happy at nursery school, but causes havoc because she has started crawling and HAS to get to EVERYTHING. She’s awesome xD.

    I’ve been enjoying watching how everyone of my friends and family members seem to look after their kids in TOTALLY different ways, and how they react to things.

    • Zoe Hawkins

      yeah, every kid is so different, as is every parent. There’s no absolute right or wrong way to do anything, just have to work with what’s right for your family. I needed Harley to go to school for my sanity and ability to work! πŸ˜›

      • VampyreSquirrel

        Haha! Sanity… you’re funny πŸ˜›

        But yes, every single kid/person is different, but I’m really interested in the psychology of it all. That might just be my own weird fascination.

        • Zoe Hawkins

          Mine too! I’m always so intrigued by the developmental stuff, which is why I like researching it. Like, will her extra time playing with kids make her more social long term, or will the trauma of being separated so young also shape her? And what did we do leading up to school that made it hard for her in the early days but now great, as compared to some kids who are happy from day one or those that take months to settle in.

          • VampyreSquirrel

            So much psychology! Just like in magic! (no I’m not kidding)

            Have to keep my brain working somehow πŸ˜›

  • Two weeks really helps. I also had a clingy 18 month old and he is much better now the third week. Still needs to see where I am at all times but I don’t have to carry him around any more. It is really hard in the beginning but I’m glad things are getting better.

  • Melissa Javan

    It’s such a great feeling to know that your child’s mood is okay and that she is adjusting to a new environment. I’m happy for you.

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