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It finally happened…the one thing that a mom is looking forward to, but at the same time, dreading…
So, recently something happened to us that I never thought would happen so soon, which is Preschool screening. I always dreaded it because I don’t like how the public school system is going with all these state tests, the bullying, and the horror stories that you hear about on the internet and news. But, picture it, you are a young stay at home mom whose child is the only child, for now, you have been doing the homeschool route, but your child is starting to understand the concept of friends and want friends, you have no other choice than preschool. However, you start looking for preschools only to find out that they are expensive and will take about your whole paycheck every week. Well, then it really seems like the head start preschool in the public school system is the way to go.
Fast forward to now and that is what my husband and I have to do with our daughter. We had to apply and get her ready for a preschool screening for the school system here in Virginia. Their head start program starts at the age of 4 and they didn’t let us know what they would be screening them on, so I was so nervous and very anxious on the days leading up to our appointment. So, we went and I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I was thinking it would be. It was more of a interview than anything else. My husband and I were sitting at the same table as our daughter filling out the application while the teacher was asking our daughter questions.
The questions were a mix of knowing colors, shapes, pictures, ABCs, and numbers. I will admit that I was surprised at how simple it was. I felt like a fool because I was feeling like Chi-Chi from Dragonball Z where she would only focus on her boys having an education and would scream at them when they weren’t studying haha. I was homeschooling her, so I knew that she would get most of it right, which she did, but I could see that she did miss a few. Then, it was the dreaded questions and interview of us as parents and where I would have to admit and talk about something that I didn’t want to, which was our daughter’s little speech delay.
Our daughter was right on track with speech and would say the usual ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ and she can say words. But, when she gets excited, her sentences become jumbled and people can’t understand her. Me, as a mom, I can understand her because I am around her all day, but I feel horrible for her every time someone can’t understand her. So, there I was sweating bullets because I would have to admit that she has a little speech problem. The teacher asked if we have gotten her evaluated or anything and I felt horrible because we haven’t been able to because of insurance, so all we could say was ‘no’. Anyways, it didn’t go as badly as I thought because the teacher actually understood and she said that she can say words clearly and knows what everything is, just to keep working on sentences, which I have. Our daughter LOVES to read books, so we have been reading every day!
Finally, the screening ended. The way that I was feeling, I thought it would never end, but it only took about 30 minutes. The teacher told us that our daughter did well and that we would know within 90 days if she got accepted or if she was put on a wait list. We are crossing our fingers because we both know that she needs friends and she needs that social experience from school. But, I would feel horrible if she doesn’t get accepted. My emotions and nerves were all over the place that day just thinking about any and all possibilities, positive or negative. I guess I am just being a mom and worrying as a mom should. Anyways, looking back to that day and our experience, I wanted to share my tips on how to make the day a little easier for mama’s and dad’s out there who have to do that same thing.
Here are my tips:
- Just take a deep breath parents! You are doing great and even though this is the start of your child’s next chapter, you can have the sense of pride knowing that you are doing the right thing for your child. Like me, I always dreaded this day because of the saying, “first preschool, then college.” I didn’t want that to happen and I didn’t take a deep breath, so I was all over the place being so nervous and shaking. So, take it from me and take that deep breath.
- Start homeschooling early if you can. I will never regret homeschooling my daughter. It was the best decision and it’s so neat to see how they grow when you do homeschool. I was lucky enough to have an amazing mom who is a kindergarten teacher, so I got my resources from her. But, there are so many resources out now for homeschool such as http://www.teacherspayteachers.com, http://www.abcmouse.com, and http://www.abcya.com. I never would have been so successful without these!
- It’s okay if your child wants to take breaks. I would get so frustrated when my daughter wanted to take breaks or simply refused to do her work, but at the same time, I didn’t realize why she needed a break. The reason was that she was getting frustrated with herself because she couldn’t understand. So, I let her take a break, so that way both of us can reset our minds and then came back with a new fresh mind to keep going. Sometimes, your child teaches you a thing or two and that’s perfectly okay. So, let them take breaks and do yourself a favor and take a break as well.
- Give your child that pep talk. It’s always good to give your child that pep talk before something big happens. It’s so good for them to understand that something big is about to happen and it’s okay. Let them know that you are supporting them and they will do a good job no matter what. And yes, even though they are 3 or 4, they are starting to understand emotions and changes.
- Don’t hover over your child during the screening. I didn’t do this because I was implementing this tip on screening day, but I am usually that parent to hover over my child. I just kept focus on our application and while I did look at her and wanted to help her out when she was trying to figure things out by saying the answer, I knew I couldn’t. And, I did look at the sheet that the teacher was marking and was about to say that she does know this stuff, but I didn’t. The reason was that this screening was for her, not for me, and if there is anything that she needs help with, then the teacher can know fully of what to help her on. So, it’s okay parents to not help at that moment. Let your child shine and let them figure it out for themselves.
I am tearing up because I keep playing through the day in my head because it’s just another example of my daughter growing up and that time is going by so fast. Even though I am so proud of her for doing a good job on her screening, I just wish that she can stay little. I can’t wait to see what happens and I have my fingers cross that she does get accepted. So, there you have it parents. My tips on how to make preschool screening day easier for you. I know it will be hard, but trust me that you will get through it and you will be proud! I hope you enjoyed reading and remember that you are never alone and that we are all experiencing life together! Remember to subscribe, follow me on social media, and I always love it when you can share these tips with your friends and family! As always, I hope you all have a great weekend and I will see you in the next post!