Transition from Daycare to Preschool

My friend’s four-year-old daughter, Tania, loves the daycare centre she goes to. She enjoys the home environment, the laidback attitude of the “aunty” there who also happens to be the ex-principal of a school. But it is time for her to move on to preschool and my friend is a little worried about her reaction to a switch from a comfortable atmosphere to an unfamiliar scenario.

Compared to other four-year-olds, Tania is a mature child. But she has shown little or no interest in joining preschool.

Transition from Daycare to Preschool

Transition from Daycare to Preschool [Illustration by Shiju George]

This is a scenario that is common to most households around admission time. If you think your child will have trouble making the transition, think again. Can you afford to wait for another year before she joins preschool? If you cannot, then it is time to be firm and gentle. It is up to you to communicate the fact that she would perhaps have a better time in the school for older children.

Enumerate all the positive things about the change. For example, she will have more interesting things to do in school, she will meet new friends, and she can still see her old friends on the weekends, if she wishes. Tell her about the big playroom at school which has innumerable toys just waiting for her.

Transition from Daycare to Preschool

Transition from Daycare to Preschool [Illustration by Shiju George]

Tell her that all her cousins or older friends have liked it, and she would like it too.

Playschool is the place she learns to read, write and draw, play with colours and along with other children, understand nature. She is likely to meet many children her age who she may become good friends with, later. At this time, your child’s imagination knows no bounds.

This is the reason why she needs to know and understand so many things, why she asks so many questions. Try telling her that in this playschool she might find the answers to some of them. In this way you could build up her interest in playschool.

It may be a good idea to explain why you are making the change for her. If you are moving from one city to another, it is a better idea to put your child in preschool. But even if you aren’t shifting explain to her that she is growing up now and needs to understand a lot more. This is why moving to a preschool seems like a good idea.

Explain that you understand that she might be sad to leave her old friends and is scared about going to a new place. Till date you may find yourself taking time to get used to sudden changes, so it shouldn’t be too surprising for you to empathise with a child who only wants constancy and stability. These are normal feelings to have, and your child should be encouraged to express her emotions.

Be gentle with your child as her moving from daycare to preschool is one giant leap into the unknown. She is likely to get jittery about this sea change but help her overcome her fears by being with her and explaining everything to her gently.

And you will soon notice that the child who used to sob every morning at the thought of going to school, is now happily skipping all the way to the bus stop to catch her school bus.

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