The perfect arrival
The night before
§ provide a nutritious evening meal free of harmful additives (videos, television, cell phones, computers …) accompanied by interested and interesting family members;
§ arrange the selection of next day’s clothing for easy access;
§ gather and place all necessary items the child will need for school in one prepared place that is used consistently (tote bag, lunch box, jacket, any notes or correspondence, a book to read while waiting in arrival line …)
§ provide a soothing, unhurried bedtime preparation (bath, story-time, lights out …)
§ ensure ample, undisturbed sleep for child and self.
The next day
§ arise early enough to greet your child with genuine warmth
§ assist only as needed as child dresses for school (no switching outfits, stick to the plan!)
§ provide ample time for routine chores (making bed, grooming, assembling lunch …)
§ provide a nutritious breakfast free of harmful additives (video, television, cell phone, computers, newspapers, magazines …) yet injected with authentic camaraderie (no eating in the car en route)
§ provide ample time for child to put on outer wraps, outdoor shoes, and assist only as needed – the key is AMPLE TIME
§ have a signal for load up time that is consistent and stick to it (“Wagons ho!” “Get ‘em up! Move ‘em out!”) Be sure your child knows that he is expected to be ready.
§ A VERY IMPORTANT STEP: provide plenty of travel time for unhurried and safe travel
§ Arrive on time! You are not only getting to school on time, you are building an awareness in your child of responsibility, reliability and respect for her school community and its expectations. You are also providing the tone for the child’s entire school day.
§ Say your brief goodbye to your child. Make it upbeat and cheerful – and very brief. Prolonged goodbyes and hand- holding serve to increase the child’s anxiety about separating from you. A brief, uplifting goodbye says, “I have every confidence in you and your school. You will have a fine day!” Children are amazingly intuitive about our true feelings.
§ Recognize that, if you have done all of the afore-mentioned items, the remainder of arrival is the work of the assistant and the child
§ Repeat daily because, as every Montessorian knows (parent as well as guide), repetition breeds perfection.
By Charlotte Kroger