|YOUNG CHILDREN | November 2013|
|Maximize Your Influence to Make Toddler Mornings Meaningful|
|by Marie L. Masterson and Katherine C. Kersey|
“Doggy!” says Anna, as she presses a cookie cutter into the playdough. “Yes,” responds Ms. Garrett, who is sitting at the low table with the children. “You made a purple dog! Is he hungry? Let’s make some food for his dish.” She notices Jacob rolling a ball between his hands. “Are you making a snake? Can you make him wiggle into his cave?” She sees that Sam has just arrived. “Come and join us. I have a bowl of red playdough for you.”
Across the room, Ms. Landeros welcomes the children. Hugging Sofia, she says, “I’ve been waiting for you! Here is a basket of books about kittens.” Tucking a stuffed kitten into Sofia’s arms, she says, “You can read to Kitty with your mom.” Sofia’s mom reads to her for a few minutes before giving Sofia a hug good-bye and an “I love you!” sign.
Coming to school in the morning is an important event for toddlers. Whether in family or center-based care, the way children feel about their transition influences their experiences throughout the day. Feeling safe and secure saying good-bye to a parent and joining the teacher and children in the classroom are two of the most important lessons of the day. When this transition goes well, there are significant benefits to the child, to the family, and to teachers. Making the most of this important time leads to a successful day for everyone.
Morning drop-off is the time to strengthen the framework of caring with families. A positive transition builds trust between families and teachers, and helps children feel secure (Brazelton & Sparrow 2006). Teachers can help parents develop a special drop-off routine that works for them. Some might want to join their child for a few minutes to support positive engagement. Playing with a puzzle together before blowing a kiss, giving a secret sign, or whispering in the child’s ear makes the leaving time easier for parent and child. When families see their child happy and involved in activities, they leave with a sense of confidence .... Continue reading
About the Authors
Marie L. Masterson, PhD, is an assistant professor of early childhood education at Dominican University, in River Forest, Illinois, and former early childhood specialist for the Virginia Department of Education. She is an author, speaker, education consultant, researcher, and an Early Childhood Fulbright Specialist. firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine C. Kersey, EdD, is a professor of early childhood education and director emerita of the Child Study Center at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia. She is a behavior consultant and speaker, and coauthor with Marie Masterson of 101 Principles for Positive Guidance With Young Children: Creating Responsive Teachers. email@example.com