Everyday when I pick up my 2yo up from preschool, she tells me she cries and wasn’t happy. We just finished our second week of school and I know she has separation anxiety and is going through an adjustment period. At pickup, I can see the tear/snot/vomit stains on her face so I know she’s having a rough time. The teachers insist it’s normal but confirms that she doesn’t eat and doesn’t participate in activities. Is it normal for her to be so overwhelmed by her anxiety/fear/sadness and how do I determine when this “adjustment period” is too long to be healthy? Preschool is a lot of work for the parent (heightened tantrums both before/after school), not to mention the cost and commute time, so if it’s not doing anything for her (or may even be detrimental since she associates school with crying and feeling sick), I’d rather pull her out. How do I determine what’s best for my child, her development and well being?
A recent letter signed by around 130 early childhood education experts, including myself, published in the Daily Telegraph (11 Sept 2013) advocated an extension of informal, play-based pre-school provision and a delay to the start of formal ‘schooling’ in England from the current effective start until the age of seven
In this article the author clearly states that we should be in no rush to get our children into school. However, if we do, then the environment should emphasize playful learning.
The American Association for Pediatrics advocates free play: The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds
Do whatever you can to allow your children to enjoy their childhood. There are many essential reasons to do so (as documented above). After all – they are only a child once.