Getting Ready For Preschool or Looking for a Thrifty Alternative? Try a Few Separation Classes to Ease the Anxiety.
If your little one is headed for preschool this Fall, you may be in a mild panic wondering how they will fare in a classroom setting, away from you for 3-5 hours at a stretch. While some parents may be willing to fearlessly jump in and cheerfully wave goodbye, be prepared for some tears and clinging the first few weeks. It may be best to get your pre-preschooler ready with some gentle separation classes offered throughout the city. Typically for 2-2.5 year olds separation classes run anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours in length and teach your child that it's okay and even fun to be away from mom and dad for short stints.
My daughter's first separation class is held on the Upper East Side at the 74th Street Magic. Their Busy Bee class is a wonderful way to get your kids used to being in a classroom setting with two teachers and others their age. My daughter was anxious at first, but has come to love this class, especially because she gets to do fun crafts projects with finger paint and varying themes each week. And I love seeing her art projects each time I pick her up.
The Children's Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side offers two classes for separation - Preschool Prep and Preschool Steps. Preschool Prep meets 2 times per week for 1 hour and 15 minutes and includes art, music, storytime and science exploration.
Citibabes downtown has a great program that starts early, with parental attendance for their Citischool Jr classes for tots 18-24 months. It's a preschool readiness program that meets 2 times per weeks and allows kids to get familiar with the preschool routine of freeplay, arts, snacks and story/circle time. Parents stay back and allow their little one's independence to build. The Citibabes 2s classes are great because the separation is gentle and parents are in attendance until the child feels comfortable enough to participate on their own.
Wherever you choose to try a the first separation class, be prepared to stay chipper and say your goodbyes quickly. It's much easier on the kids to get their parents out with a clean swift break.