Letting Go of Kindergarten

I need help with my six-year-old son. He is so attached to his kindergarten teacher that I am having a hard time getting him involved in a summer reading program at his school. He will not stay with the new teacher at all. He wants only his teacher from this past school year, who happens also to be teaching a separate class. He sees her every day, and I think this makes it worse for him. I have considered taking him out of the program and just doing extra work at home with him over the summer. What should I do?

--A Parent Soup member
Question:

Separation is a lifelong experience and part of growing up. When you help your child deal with separation, he will learn that he is capable of handling painful feelings. He is also learning that you will be there if he needs help. Sharing feelings sometimes makes them more manageable. Though you may not like to hear the complaining or crying, when you listen, you show respect; you help your child learn that you are available to listen to his feelings.

As a kindergarten teacher, I would always have a few of my former students who stopped by my room on the way to their first grade class, especially during the first weeks of school. They felt safe and secure with me, and making the transition into first grade was hard for them. I always gave them hugs and asked them about their new classes. As time went on, they began to attach to their new teacher, and they would stop by less often.

I would discourage you from removing your child from a program because he is having trouble with separation from a former teacher. This is a learning experience for him, and you will not always be able to protect him from separation. Be there to support him and talk about his feelings.

-- Diane Dodge, Teaching Strategies

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