We just hit a big milestone in our house: we transitioned from one daycare to another and from toddlers to preschool at the same time.
While I might be a child care veteran (I’m going on six years between my two kids), transitioning to a different center was a new experience. We’ve been very happy at the center we’d been going to; it’s right in my office park, which has been awesome. The teachers are amazing. Now in first grade, my oldest still pines over his favorite friends and teachers from those halcyon days at Bright Horizons. But, seeing as how my daughter was due to move up to the preschool room, we decided it was a good time to move her to a center closer to home.
Gearing Up For & Getting Adjusted to a New Daycare
I Was Nervous
While this move would mean gaining some great things, it had the potential for losing some things, too.
Every night at dinner, we each say our favorite thing from the day, our not-favorite thing, and what we’re grateful for. And every night, my daughter shouted gleefully that her favorite thing was, “My friends!!!” And then she’d name her three favorites. Even on the days she didn’t go to the center.
So of course I was worried. Would she be ok with a new place? New teachers? All new friends? Would she be sad, reserved, or scared?
Then there was the quality time we had in the car together, which we often spent singing songs. While some days I was pretty over “Wheels on the Bus,” “Twinkle Twinkle Star,” and, “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” for the most part I loved this time.
Clearly, I knew we were making this change so I had plenty of time to think about it. But starting at a couple of months out, I frequently talked to my daughter about how she was going to get to go to a new school soon, so she was prepared for the idea and maybe even excited.
We did two practice days at the new center before she was officially transitioned. But really, she didn’t need it. I think that was way more for me than for her.
I made sure all the details were covered – who would be picking up or dropping off whom, where and when.
I let my manager and my direct reports know this change was coming up. We’re encouraged to bring our whole selves to work here, so it was natural and comfortable to share this moment with them.
How it's Going
We’re a few weeks in to our new center and splitting the drop off and pick up duties with my husband has been great. He gets to feel more involved in our daughter’s life at the center. And I get some buffer time between work and family.
And, most importantly, every night as we discuss our days, my daughter gleefully announces that her favorite thing was, “My new school!!!!”
The center has felt like home to her from the very beginning. It certainly does feel like a Bright Horizons center – from the décor, to the way the teachers care for the kids, to the way the director greets us as we enter. And my daughter is so happy to be in the preschool room. She’s more than ready for the exciting curriculum and creative fun that the preschool program offers her.
I’m glad I chose to do this transition when she was already transitioning anyway. I really think it helped it make sense to her. She probably feels like this is just what happens when you’re a big kid.
In fact, she’s already starting to select the kids she will invite to her “Hello-Kitty-Birthday” this summer.
I’m Rachel, a corporate marketing professional, and mom whose days are fueled by music, podcasts, dark chocolate, and just a smidge of bad TV.
- More about Bright Horizons’ Preschool Program
- E-Family News: Moving on Up: Transitioning to the Next Early Childhood Classroom
- Bright Horizons Growing Readers Books that Help Prepare Kids for Going to School: Llama, Llama Misses Mama, I Am Too Absolutely Small for School, and Preschool Day Hooray