Wednesday, June 7, 2017

When Sending Your Child Off To School Is So Hard



My daughter was just 3 years old when she started Junior Kindergarten. She would turn 4 in October. Sending your little one off to school for the first time is stressful for a parent no matter the child’s age, but when they seem so teeny-tiny, it’s all the more anxiety-inducing.


And that worry isn't just for Mom and Dad to cope with. My little one suffered from separation anxiety. She wasn’t skipping off to school with a smile on her face like some of the other children in her class. She was clinging to Mom or Dad, tears streaming down her face. And Mom and Dad had to get to work. As much as we parents want to be there for our kids always, we deal with sometimes inconvenient social realities - like needing to get to your job on time so you can continue to earn money.

We’ll forever be grateful for our daughter's JK teacher, Mrs. C. This lovely teacher was a welcome face in the morning - she would come right through the Kindergarten play yard outside to take our little girl from our arms. She would comfort her and talk to her and engage her in activities to distract her from her sadness.


It meant the world to us, knowing that we could leave our precious little one with a responsible adult who would not only teach her, but care who she was as a person as well. And I could go off to work without tears in my eyes. As parents we know that our children go through phases - phases that inevitably pass. But when those phases are really hard, really darn stressful, it's difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn't long at all before my young JK student felt entirely comfortable going off to school. And we were fortunate that she was taught by Mrs. C again later in Grade 1.

If you were to see my daughter heading off to school today, in Grade 7, you would see a confident, capable and creative person who enjoys school, manages her homework on her own and has clear goals for her future success through high school and post-secondary studies.


As much as I value a solid education for my children, with capable instruction in areas such as math, science, English and the arts, it's also important to me that those most precious to me spend their days with people who respect them, who value them as individuals and who teach them to care for others as well. Children spend a good portion of their daily lives at school and I know I'm not alone in feeling that it should be a time that nurtures them as human beings.

My kids have had the good fortune to attend Ontario Catholic schools - for those of you who don't know, the Province of Ontario has Catholic schools within the public school system - where the curriculum is infused with core values such as fairness, respect, compassion and concern for social justice and the environment.

My kids have participated in frequent fundraisers, as well as on Luke 4:18 Social Justice Committees. My daughter helps her school's caretaker with recycling. For a recent school project, she and her group mates decided to create a prototype of a product that might one day assist visually impaired people. She is teaching herself sign language in the hopes of one day communicating more easily with deaf people. The lessons learned at school carry over into life - an astonishing 72% of graduates from Ontario Catholic public schools volunteered in the last year. I have several Catholic teachers in my family - including my husband and my sister-in-law - and I know they deliver lessons beyond history and English. They promote values that help students become good citizens.

Here's a great example of how in-school study led to an amazing career fully dedicated to helping others. Watch this video to learn more about Cheryl Perera, a Catholic school graduate who was inspired by research she conducted for a Grade 10 Civics class to go to Sri Lanka to investigate child exploitation. She later founded OneChild, an organization that mobilizes young people to take action against sexual exploitation of children.


video


More Inspirational Stories Online


Visit Ontario's Catholic Teachers online to read and see more inspirational stories about students and teachers who give in service of others.


Do you have children in Ontario's Catholic school system? I would love to hear your stories of how your child(ren)'s teachers have been important to you!



*This post is part of the YummyMummyClub and Ontario's Catholic Teachers #CatholicTeachers sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

12 comments:

  1. It is so difficult to see them go off to school when they're so little! We're very lucky when they have teachers who stand out and make a difference!

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    1. These ages and stages are hard for parents (and grandparents) huh? Teachers can definitely make the difference. Thank you for your comment!

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  2. My little guy is finishing up Kindergarten this month. It has been a tough year for him and I. Every morning my little guy sadly says he would rather stay home from school. Thankfully he has a caring bus monitor reassure him every morning at pickup that he is going to have a great fun filled day at school! This daily kindness and reassurance has definitely made the morning school transition easier on my son!

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    1. Oh gosh, doesn't it break your heart when they would rather stay home? Thank goodness for your bus monitor! There are so many kind people in the world. :)

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  3. Sorry to hear about her separation anxiety. I really lucked out that my youngest was excited for JK, and had even wanted to go to school with his brother the year before.

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    1. That's so great Jenna! I'm glad you had a positive experience with your youngest. :)

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  4. Their teachers really make the difference. We have been so blessed to have had amazing teachers in the Ontario Catholic system too. Both my boys are shy and they have brought out the best in them.

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    1. I'm happy to hear your boys have enjoyed their school experiences Carla!

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  5. My boys have really flourished at Catholic School. I love the monthly focus on values and how the school community really works together.

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    1. That's great! I find the community really works together as well. :)

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  6. Attending Catholic Elementary and Secondary schools myself so fundamentally formed who I am today (a successful and caring working mom of four with a doctorate degree). I love that my children have the opportunity to attend a Catholic School. While they are thriving academically they are also living and learning about the values and traditions we are blessed with as Catholics. Mine too were so tiny when they started - their teachers were wonderful, like second moms to them. I'll always be grateful for how they set them on the right path along their educational route. Thank you for the chance to reflect on this Joann.

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    1. That's really wonderful Jane! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Ontario Catholic schools. I'm so glad your children are enjoying their school experiences. And you are a shining example of the type of person who ideally emerges from a strong school system. :)

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