Today was the first day of Pre-K. Although it's only eight p.m. and I'm ready for bed, it was a fantastic day. Probably one of the best first days I have ever had. The morning went smoothly just until I rang the bell for for our morning meeting. I think it startled one of my brand new little guys because then the tears started and a touch of separation anxiety set in.
Group time can definitely be overwhelming for the very young ones. It's been my experience though, if you can get them involved in a sensory activity it helps to calm their nerves. However in this instance, the lil guy was huddled in the corner by the door and no gentle persuasion would get him to come out. So I tore off a hunk of our home-made play dough and set it on a shelf close to him. Sure enough, a few minutes later he was happily engaged with the dough.
I went over to check him and found him stepping on pieces of play-dough on the floor.
In a previous life, I might have told him that play-dough doesn't go on the floor, picked it up and moved on. Instead I commented on the designs in his play-dough and invited him to trace them with his finger.We got down really close to examine the patterns and I asked if I could take a picture of them. He agreed this was a good idea. We noted the lines and patterns such as chevron and diamond. Then we rolled the play-dough into one big ball and flattened it out so we could do a large impression. We did this a couple of times.
We made sure to check out the bottom of his shoe as well to make sure the patterns were the same:
After this brief interaction he smiled and felt secure enough again to enter into small group play on his own. :)