Rafael was only 3 years old when Nette Damaso decided it was time for him to go to school. “I was never comfortable leaving my baby with the yaya; I wanted to take care of my 2 sons on my own,” Damaso recalls. “From that tension-filled first day of school, I was with my eldest son Rafael and never got myself to leave. I felt he was too young and I feared he might not be able to cope with the new environment, the new people, and the school rules.”
Damaso adds, “I wanted to see if he was getting along with the other kids, or to check if he was giving his teachers a hard time. I wanted to make sure he was happy and safe in school. I also found myself looking for more reasons to stay with him in school.”
But Rafael proved to be a “social” bug, hopping from one classmate to another. Even other parents grew fond of him. He was having so much fun in school!
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Joji Chupungco-Santos decided to retire from work early to take full care of her 4 kids. By that time, her children were in diverse developmental stages: Janina was 14, RJ was 12, Pao was 9, and Acal was 4. Every morning, Santos drives her kids to school and waits. Her “waiting time” starts at 7:45 am and ends at around 4:00 pm, seeing through the 3 staggered dismissal times of her 4 kids.
Santos’s days are usually spent in the school canteen with other parents (and grandparents) who are also waiting for their kids. They organize study sessions on paper quilting, crocheting, and cross-stitching. They volunteer to help the school’s student committee, and occasionally, they sideline as the official drivers and chaperones during field trips.
Supporting Your Preschoolers
Professor Jennifer B. Tordecilla of the Department of Family Life and Child Development at the University of the Philippines delves on the many reasons behind the apparent anxiety of some parents: “As kids enter school, they are faced with a new environment, new classmates, and new teachers. Their adjustment during their first few weeks in school would be smoother if their parents were there to help out during this transition period.”
Professor Isabel Saplala, family life and child development specialist at Miriam College, believes: “Parents with very young children who are still learning the ropes of how to go about school independently prefer to stay in school. Younger children still delight in having their parents wait for them until class is over. Most of these very young children, too, may not have older siblings to take on the responsibility of taking care of them after school.”
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Click here to read on about parent volunteers and when they should let go of their children.