Reactions to starting nursery school/creche

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in the last week or so. I’m sorry for my absence – I really have wanted to write but a number of things have conspired against me. My day job was absurdly busy, I had a day with power issues that led to internet issues, and I was so tired in the evenings that I actually just wanted to zone out while bingeing on something on Netflix. However, the biggest reason is because I wanted to write about Harley starting at her play school/nursery school/creche, but my feelings about it hadn’t quite settled into a form I could write about it. Now, they have, and i think it’s important to write about the various emotions that come from starting nursery school.

First up, I knew that I was sending Harley to a good place. Like, I really really knew it. I didn’t have reservations about the school – I had asked all my questions, and popped in for visits at random times of day, and I was impressed by the answers as well as by what I saw first hand. While that made things easier, that didn’t make things easy.

Harley had a hard time adapting to nursery school at the start. She would scream. Not just at drop off and pick up, but ALL. DAY. The first few days, I was either with her most of the time, or she only stayed for a few hours. But eventually, I had to start going to work and she had to settle in. But it really wasn’t great – she would cry a lot, and then insist on being held by the teacher or the teacher’s aides. I was really concerned. Was 13 months too early to start nursery school? Was she just not ready to be apart from me? Was I traumatizing her? Should I have gone the au pair route instead of school? Was I a terrible mommy for leaving her?

I felt awful, and her screams and cries would break my heart every morning when I left.

Then, she started to get used to it. After a week at school, she wouldn’t cry in the day anymore, but she still insisted on being held the whole time. She would still cry when I said goodbye, but she was fine before I got out the security gate at the school, before I even got to my car.

Yesterday marked two weeks at school, and she finally played at school. She played on the swings, played with the other kids for carpet time. She didn’t cry, didn’t need to be held the whole time, didn’t nap. She played. I was (and am) overjoyed. That first week was really so very hard, but I told myself that I would give it a bit of time for her to get comfy with the people, with the environment, with being away from her parents. It was bound to take time, and I wanted to make sure she was okay in the process, but she is settled there now. She actually enjoyed herself yesterday, which is all I really wanted for her.

Now, I can leave her at school with a lighter heart, with the knowledge that it really is good for both of us, necessary for both of us.


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