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Deciding On A Preschool For My Highly Sensitive Introvert

Preschool is a subject of worry for parents of extreme introverts. They start to wonder how their child will do in a school setting. Would they have a teacher that would understand their introversion? Would they understand sensitivity? What will the other kids be like? Would those kids understand?

It was around this time last year that I was feeling the same concerns. I started looking into preschools for my Lil Bug. She needed more social interaction. I felt like it was time to push her a bit more outside her comfort zone socially. She was also ready to learn more than I thought I could give her at the time. She seemed ready for something more. But, I was worried about the right preschool for her. It was not a decision that my husband and I took lightly mostly because we knew that being in a school environment or at least in a new environment would be difficult for her. She liked familiarity. Also she only really talked to close family members. We were wanting to put her in an environment with teachers that would understand that.

I decided to voice my question about what options there were in the area on Facebook. I asked my friends what they thought was a good preschool and why. I got a few recommendations, but one friend in specific sent me a Facebook message telling me about doing an at-home rotating co-op. As my husband and I talked about it, it seemed like a really good idea. Here are our reasons why:

1.       Size of the group. Being in a group setting is difficult for Lil Bug. She enjoys being around people but will not talk to people she doesn’t know. She still takes time to warm up to even family members that she sees at least once a month. We were hesitant to put her in a public preschool because of all the people that she would have to get used too. Doing a rotating co-op preschool would allow her class to be smaller.

2.       Supportive teachers – Luckily the group that I became a part of was full of supportive moms who would be Lil Bug’s teachers. When I told them that Lil Bug probably wouldn’t even talk for the first few months, if then, they were okay with that.

3.       I would be the teacher every once in a while. We started the preschool out with all the moms/teachers there on the first day. It gave me the opportunity to be with Lil Bug that first day. With me by her side she was able to see how the preschool routine would go. Plus, since it is a rotating co-op I was in the rotation for teaching, which means she would have me for her teacher every so often.

Those were our main reasons for why we thought this would be good for Lil Bug. But, we did have a couple of concerns. The main one being that the preschool would be held at a different home each week. As mentioned earlier, Lil Bug is someone who likes familiarity. With it being at different place it would be harder for Lil Bug to get used to the place that she was at. We weren’t really sure how she would respond to the rotation.

We weighed the pros and cons and decided to do it. We would pull out if we felt that Lil Bug wasn’t doing well with it. The first few days turned out better than we had thought. She stayed close to me throughout that first day. I started letting her know ahead of time that I wouldn’t stay with her the next day. She was anxious about that so we discussed it a few times and set up a routine. She clung to me that first day when I tried to leave. But, she did let go. The next day, she did fine. The whole experience went so much better than we thought it would. She enjoys preschool and although she has only talked once in this whole process so far, she will often come home and spend her afternoon pretending to be the preschool teacher for her dolls and little sister.

Part of the reason this option has been so successful for us is because of the moms that are doing the co-op with me. They are so supportive and they rejoice when Lil Bug makes a step forward. One time we went on a field trip and I tried to get Lil bug to ride in the van with the rest of the kids. She didn’t want to, there was another mom going so we got a ride with her instead. When it was time to head home, we got into the vehicles, Lil Bug already strapped in. As we were driving off, with the other van in front of us, Lil Bug said, “I want to ride in the van.”

My thoughts were along the lines of, now you tell me and we can’t just stop the cars so you can get in the van. But, it was still a big step for Lil Bug.

It just so happened that a wrong turn was made so the van slowed, window down to let us know what had happened. The mom we were riding with, recognizing this big step for Lil Bug, told the other mom that Lil Bug wanted to ride in the van. The van mom, without hesitation, pointed to the gas station that was close by and said, “We’ll stop there.”

It took a little rearranging with the car seats, but in a little bit, Lil Bug was in the van with the other kids. These women are awesome and are so supportive of Lil Bug and her stepping outside of her comfort zone.

I know that I am lucky to not only have this group of moms, but to also be in a position to do an in home rotating co-op preschool for Lil Bug. I am also thankful that Lil Bug adjusted so well with preschool being at a different house each week. Every child is different and so its important to think about if your child would be comfortable with the change in location. I am thankful that I was able to find something that works with our family’s schedule and that is also supportive of my little girl who is not only an introvert but also shy. This has been an awesome experience in seeing the steps that my Lil Bug has taken. I only hope that we can continue to find people in her life that will be supportive of who she is and of her steps forward. 

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