I attended Carmel Mountain Preschool. I’ve worked at CMP since 2007, and I know the teachers are amazing. The first day of school is still hard. Leaving my baby boy, Finn, at school for the first time brought tears to my eyes…even though I was across the office from him. For the last eight years, I have encouraged parents to have short goodbyes to make it easier on the children, but it was tough when I was saying the goodbye! You get a whole new outlook and a whole new understanding for parents when you become a parent. I was a bit of a judger pre-motherhood, and many of the things that I said that I would never do as a mother, I do. Parenthood changes your perception quite a bit. I’m still learning a lot about having a toddler at school, but getting to experience both sides of a preschool has allowed me to gain some things that have been super helpful in getting my son off to school:
- Short goodbyes are easier on your child even if they’re not easier on you. If your child has tears, they usually stop as soon as you are out of sight.
- As hard as it is, I have found with many families that there are fewer tears if the dad or grandparents drop off the child.
- The teachers at CMP give your children tons of hugs, love, and comfort while you’re gone. The teachers spend a lot of time with your child and will communicate with you if they notice that anything is off.
- Packing lunches every day. Uggh! Check out our Pinterest page for ideas.
- Children that don’t nap at home usually nap at CMP because they play so hard. Make it easier on them by packing a stuffed animal, blankie, or other reminders of home. You can also have your child sign up for the many extra-curricular activities we offer at Carmel Mountain Preschool to shorten their nap time.
- Children can take up to 8-12 tries before they like something. If your child doesn’t eat a certain food in their lunch one day, try a few more times – they need multiple tries to get used to new textures and tastes.
- I’ve already lost various toys and clothing items of Finn’s on my own, so imagine keeping track of the belongings of twelve children. Teachers try their best to keep track, but please label everything. Sharpie comes off, and many children’s belongings are the same. I found great water bottle labels and clothing tag labels that stay on even after you wash them.
- Greet your child’s teacher and say goodbye to them. Your child will treat their teacher with the same respect you do, and little ears hear everything.
- Make sure to get your child to class when they will have the easiest transition (talk to their teacher to find out if it’s in the classroom or on the playground).
- If there is something that is specific to your child, communicate your expectations with their teacher so they have a chance of meeting those expectations. For example, I don’t feed Finn sugar yet, so I’ve asked his teachers to respect that. Is it different and weird to them? Yes. But they respectfully follow my request. Don’t be embarrassed to ask; many of the teachers are parents (or will be someday), and they respect your choices.
- Here is the best non-leaking non-plastic water bottle I found.
- Many of the CMP office staff are also mothers and are a wealth of knowledge as well as a great support on those hard, overwhelming days. Just Ask!
- Child-safe Sunscreen. CMP applies sunscreen to your child every day, so make sure it’s a sunscreen that is safe for a young child to absorb. You can check with EWG to see if your sunscreen is safe.
- When you drop off your child, tell them who will be picking them up and during which activity they can plan on being picked up (i.e. after a nap, after centers). Make sure to say goodbye, and give them a hug. Don’t sneak away.
- If your child naps at CMP, a regular size crib sheet fits perfectly over the nap mat.
- Your child feels your anxiety and if you’re upset. If you are anxious about your child’s new class or teacher, take some deep breaths. Talk to your child’s teacher, your significant other, the office staff, or a friend out of the earshot of your child. If you have constructive criticism or input that could have a negative undertone about your child’s experience, make sure you communicate it when you are away from your child – your child hears everything, and it can sway their feelings – plus children repeat everything. When you are around your child, try to show only positive feelings towards their new adventure.
- Your child’s teacher may be younger than you but they are a wealth of knowledge and can often help with early childhood issues. For example, if you are having challenges with biting, ask your child’s teacher, and you will be surprised about the resources they have including their own knowledge, articles they read, and their co-teachers.
- Dump your child’s shoes before you put them in the car – otherwise, you may be bringing home some of CMP’s playground! 😉
The CMP staff who also have children that attend CMP. We love CMP!