“The First Day of School”
You are sending your child to school for the first time. You are dreading it all exceedingly. You want the child to start his school education, but you hate to have him leave you.
You think it will be fine to be free from his demands for the hours he spends in school. But fast on the heels of that thought come the others.
Perhaps the teacher will not be kind to him. Perhaps he will be thirsty and she will not let him have a drink. Perhaps the children will not be nice to him. Maybe he will miss you and cry.
If you worry about these things you will show your fear to the child and to the teacher. The teacher will not be pleased to know that you think she will not take good care of the child. She will. She has been trained to do that very thing.
She will see that he gets a drink and she will see that he is comfortable in every way. She will not “baby” him, though. She will show him his seat and give him his lesson and expect him to fit into the scheme of the classroom.
There is nothing in that scheme that need alarm the most timid mother. The teacher knows exactly what the first day’s work should be and she knows how it should be done. Leave it to her. Show her that you have faith in her.
You can’t blame the teacher who glares you out of the room if you insist upon seating yourself beside your child on an eighteen-inch bench nine inches from the floor in order that you may see that the teacher does her work properly that morning and does nothing that might upset your child. The teacher of the baby class has enough trouble on her mind and in her hands without a dozen tearful mothers sitting and standing about the room suggesting worry and fear to the children.
Leave the child with the teacher and go away cheerfully. Keep out of the classroom. Try to behave as though sending a child to school for the first time was something that you had done every day of your life. Just a matter of course.
That will make the child feel that going to school is an ordinary and natural thing to do. It will save his nerves and free his mind for the work of the day.
Whatever you do, don’t stand at the classroom door and throw kisses and sob brokenly: “Goodbye, dear. Mother will be so lonesome.”
From the book: Child Training, by Angelo Patri, published 1922
printed in the United States