Independence Starts Here!

September 9, 2016 - 4 minutes read

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and

the wings of independence” – Denis Waitley

Start of school is an exciting time for everyone.  Most educators will admit that the nights leading up to start-up can be sleepless.  Despite the fact that my start of the school year is mid-August, my family members will attest to the fact that they hear me talking in my sleep in days leading up to the first day saying things like, “It’s in the filing cabinet,” and, “Why is it not okay to throw rocks?”

For our young learners, the start of school involves a mix of emotions and excitement over seeing old friends and meeting new ones, learning who their teacher will be, moving into new classrooms with new routines, and leaving the easy days of summer behind.  The same could be said for parents.  However relieved we are to return to the predictability of routine, seeing our children seek new challenges, and in many cases, let go of our hands to march confidently forward, can be hard for many parents.

img_4185At Ecole Cedardale, many parents were surprised to see our “Independence Starts Here” sign in the upper hallway on Tuesday morning.  After a summer spent 24/7 with their children, it is understandable that the return of their own independence felt a little foreign to some parents.

I have seen and felt this conundrum from both sides, as an educator and as a parent.  I remember peeling one preschool-aged son off of my leg and handing him screaming to his teacher and then going to have a cry in my car.  I resisted the strong urge to go back and peek to see if he was okay, and later found out that my son stopped crying moments after I left, and I did, most certainly, pick up a happy, talkative, and excited little man several hours later.

I have also seen this scenario from the other side, when as an educator, a parent hands off their crying child and I reassure them that I will call if they cannot be consoled within a few minutes.  The separation process is much more difficult on us as parents as we leave guilt-ridden.  Meanwhile, the child generally is singing and playing completely unaware of the lasting effects of their tears on their parents.9bb5e6526f4af390cef48904378624df

I do see the powerful effect of providing our children with the tools to be independent and resilient.  Earlier this week,
I was visiting classes and observed William in kindergarten put on his jacket, zip it up himself, change his shoes, tighten them, line up his other shoes and then line up behind his classmates.  He was so proud of his independence!

I do want to stress that parents are an integral part of our community; we are partners in supporting our young learners.  Our infamous “Independence Starts Here” board is a reminder of our commitment at Cedardale to a collaborative partnership in helping to build your children’s independence so that they have the skills to take flight.