Arrival time at our Early Childhood campus is one of my favorite parts of the day at Bennett Day School. Teachers eagerly await children, both outside on the street, assisting in the car drop off line, and inside their classroom, anxious to greet the children and start a new day. Parents are always welcome to walk their child into school and the classroom each morning, encouraged to establish a routine that is consistent and bridges the transition from home to school. This is not a kiss and run style of routine, rather, an invitation to connect with your child in the classroom, explore their latest projects and interests, and most importantly build a secure and trustful partnership.
Children dash through the door, quick to look for their friends, calling them by name with cheerful hellos. During this arrival time, teachers’ faces are lit with enthusiasm and warmth. Kneeling down to look into the child’s eyes upon entry into the classroom tells that child, “I see you. I know you. I’m happy that you are here.” This nurturing approach is essential to the separation process for our youngest learners. After greetings exchanged and stories shared about happenings at home or on the way to school, preschoolers jump into their morning routines, putting away belongings, washing hands, checking in, and self-selecting an area to work. Self-direction is a critical approach to learning that we take very seriously at Bennett Day. Our students learn how to choose areas wisely in which they will engage thoughtfully with provoking materials. You may find a child anxiously picking up where they left off on a project the day prior. Other students can be seen coming together to work with new materials, developing interesting narratives and asking questions of each other and teachers, nurturing their innate curiosities.
This short timeframe, though only fifteen or twenty minutes, carries great weight and meaning in Early Childhood. First and foremost, there must be a feeling of security and safety. Once that is met, children can confidently separate from home to school. In doing so they are able to strengthen relationships with adults and peers, all the while developing the autonomy that will lay the foundation for social, emotional, and academic growth.
- Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood