The Coast News Group
Educational Opportunities

4 tips when preparing for the first day of preschool

By Cheryl Molenkamp

Preschool Principal at The Rhoades School

The day has finally arrived… it is almost time for your little one to head off to their first day of preschool. What an exciting milestone! It can be a potentially nerve-wracking one as well. When the day comes, your child will be looking to you for cues that everything will be alright—just like a flight attendant on an airplane. 

Here are a few tips to ensure that your child’s first day of school is smooth and steady as they enter this new phase of life: 

1. Involve your child in the preparation. 

The key to a successful transition into preschool is making sure that your child is invested in this new adventure. Invite your child to pick out their own school supplies. Every school will have their own supply lists, but here are some general items that may be needed: 

• A preschool-sized backpack to bring home all their artwork and treasures.  

• A water bottle and lunch box. We recommend the bento box style lunch boxes because it is just one piece.

• A gallon zip lock bag with an extra set of clothes including socks, underwear, and a top and bottoms that fit the season (and be sure that everything that you bring is labeled with your child’s name.) 

2. Get them comfortable with their new environment beforehand. 

The next thing on the agenda is to plan a visit to the new school. Arrange a time with the school to come and make a classroom visit. The goal is to show your child that this is a space where they are safe and welcome. While you are there, walk through what you will do on their first day. Let your child know that when they start school you will not be able to stay. You do not want your ultimate departure to feel like a surprise to them, but reassure them that that you will always pick them up. 

3. Read books with your child about going to school. 

Listening to stories about characters going to school will help to put your child’s mind at ease and help build confidence for that first day. 

4. Establish a routine for drop-off and follow it. 

For example, give them a hug and develop a patterned goodbye such as, “Have a great day!” and then promptly leave. After you leave, let the teachers work their magic. Your child will be having fun before they know it.

Big changes can be difficult for both parents and children. You may experience a mixture of emotions when you drop your child off, but do your best to remain positive and encouraging. Following these guidelines can help empower your child during this formative time, while also letting them see that you are confident in their ability to fit into this new environment.

This is a magical time for your child. Genuinely embrace these wonderful moments of growth! 

To learn more about The Rhoades School, visit or contact us for a tour at 760-388-7693.

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