PREPARING CHILDREN FOR KINDERGARTEN
Elena Gatsenko graduated from I.I. Mechnikov National University’s general psychology faculty in Odessa in 2004, specialising in clinical psychology and with a dissertation topic on “Impaired Concentration”. Elena has a special interest in fairytale and art therapy techniques. She is a head of the pacesetting poly-lingual International Kids Club in El Campanario (Estepona), where her interactive rubric “kindergarten” is dedicated to questions of early development and education of pre-schoolers. In future issues of Home & Lifestyle Magazine, Elena will write about such diverse subjects as: hyperactive and timid children; children’s fears and hysterics; exploration
and development of children’s talents and aptitudes; jealousy to younger ones; and preparation for school. “But,” she says, “the best questions and the most important answers come from a dialog with you. Write me, ask questions and I will answer them with pleasure (firstname.lastname@example.org).” Noting that expatriates are all new newcomers on the Costa del Sol, Elena says, “And to a greater or lesser degree we all find ourselves in a stressful situation in connection with relocation. Today we have a chance to bring up our children as citizens of the world. In any part of the world they will be able to feel at home, be masters of a situation. In addition to early learning of languages, they also need psychological training. “If a small child from the first months of life is moved together with the mother, the child broadens borders of their ‘home’ at least to the scale of a city. It means that any unknown place beginning from a playground to a bank is just like another unexplored ‘room’ for your child. They are not afraid of people around them, actively get acquainted with the world, and become less shy. “The next stage, your child’s independent steps into adult life, is kindergarten. Parting with the mother is the most terrifying thing that happens at this stage. I’m sure that most of you remember a picture from your childhood: morning at kindergarten, some are crying, tightly seizing their mothers’ legs, some are sitting with a sad face, silently suffering ‘betrayal’, and happy ones are rushing to play. In spite of what side you took in your childhood, today you can turn the time your child spends at kindergarten into a fascinating first job.” Looking ahead to Elena’s forthcoming columns, we asked her some key questions related to the first issues that parents should address… Is it necessary to send your child to kindergarten if you are able to be with them at home? Yes, it is necessary as least partially for half a day. Communication with peers should be deeper and more diverse than it is on a playground. It is a preparation for school, additional intellectual development, acquaintance with the laws and rules of social behaviour. Even if your child is hyper-sociable and knows 150 rhymes by heart, your dear homegrown “prince” or “princess” might find themselves an outcast in the secondary school. What is the best way to prepare children? A competent PR is everything for us. In a good time, half a year or a few months before, begin to tell them about a fantastic place where remarkable boys and girls are gathered, where there are beautiful rooms for children only and a special garden for walks. A place where your child will be taught to speak different languages, where every child plays together, does crafts and eats delicious meals at small tables. Tell them only adults can be enrolled there (if your child is at “I’ll do it myself ” stage) or only the best ones like them… You can also show them a few kindergartens from a distance and say that some day they will be able to go there. How should parents approach the first visit? In an ideal scenario introduce a kindergarten teacher to your child and show them a room when it is empty of children. For example, before classes start or on a weekend. The kindergarten teacher will conduct an excursion during which the child is allowed to hold their mother’s hand, show lockers and beds, toys and tutorials, and tell your child what children will do there together. Then we go there for an hour or a maximum of two hours (even if the child forgets about the mother and doesn’t want to go home). If your child is worrying, take a break for a few days and then return for a certain entertaining lesson: musical or creative. During a week you can increase the time to half a day, for instance, until rest-hour. And only after this stage can you leave your child for the whole day. What should parents consider when choosing a kindergarten? Be sure to visit a couple of them. Get acquainted with the kindergarten teachers who will educate your child. Find out what subjects and in what volume children learn; be sure to assess the size and landscape gardening of the playground; obtain more specific information about the time and duration of outings, and of the menu. Listen to your heart and show the shortlist to your child.