Ms. Catherine's Community

Dear Parents,

So “Meet the Teacher” is over and you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend.  But you might have one thing left on your mind…..separation anxiety!!!!!  Is your child going to cry when you drop him / her off on their first day of school?????? One thing IS for certain:  Depending on how YOU handle the situation, will definitely play into this outcome!

During the first months of a child’s life it is our duty to do everything for our child.  Research supports this and states that a child who has his /her every need attended to in the first six months of life will grow up to be more secure and confident in the world.  However, the problem that most parents have is that as a child gets older we are supposed to give all these jobs back!   Parents are supposed to let go of the reigns and foster independence in the skills a child can do one their own:  walking instead of being carried, feeding themselves, brushing teeth, etc.  However, if you are like me, you ENJOY and WANT to do things for your child because it shows how much you love them.  What I had to learn the hard way is that this behavior actually stifles a child from attempting to try new skills on their own.  It is really our job as parents, to “parent” children by letting them know where the boundaries lie.  With that being said, children do not get to control the good bye.  You do.  Going to school is not negotiable.  You have planned this wonderful enriching experience for them so they are going.  Period.  No debate.  No grey area.  So be the parent and confidently drop them off knowing they are in good hands.

Even the youngest child can sense it when a parent is apprehensive to let go.  And if YOU appear nervous you will most certainly make your child nervous—ESPECIALLY if you say things like you are “going to miss them.”  Although you mean well, it is really best to stay away from phrases like this at first.  Keep conversations positive and brief:  “You are going to have SO much fun.” “That playground is so cool.”  “All your favorites will be your lunchbox.”

 And this is good advice for the “drop off” also!!!  We have this saying at school: “Quick good-byes equal dry eyes.”  If you drag out the good-bye it could build apprehension in your child.  One kiss and let them go.  Most importantly, DO NOT cross the threshold into your child’s room.  The division of the carpet in the hallway and the vinyl floor of the classroom is a great visual barrier to children.  If you enter the classroom your child WILL get the wrong impression that you are staying and then be distraught when you go to leave.  You need to be firm and explain that the classroom is something special for your child only!  The child or the teacher will hang up the backpack, get out the notes, and put the lunch box into the cubby.  Let them do it.  Drop and go.  All will be fine!!!!

At the end of the week if your child is still having a hard time letting go, that means you should definitely use the carline during week two!  Before you know it, a friendly teacher will take your child to their class for you.  Again, because the transfer is quick, children experience a smoother transition to the activities of their school day.  While waiting your turn in carline get them ready to depart check the backpack, that shoes are tied, adjust those pretty bows in her hair, etc.  Have everything ready so that when the teacher opens the door your child can be ready to “deploy!”  You can even make a game of it, like a parachute jumper getting ready to leap from an airplane.  Take it a step further and show a couple YouTube videos on how quickly these adults can deploy from their vehicles.  Be the fastest one to deploy.  Your child will be so excited about this challenge that they focus on the task and not on the good-bye! 

Then at the end of the day you get to pick them up again and celebrate their big day at school!  Again avoid saying how much you missed them but instead say “I am so glad to see you, let’s look at what is in your backpack.”  Be strong!  Be confident!  Be decisive!   And be ready to do it all again the next day!!!!  You got this!!!!!

In Christ's Love,  

Ms. Catherine



My name is Catherine Penrod and I received my degree in Elementary Education and taught for 10 years in the Florida public school system.  Most recently I took a sabbatical from preschool and taught Kindergarten in St. Johns County at Liberty Pines Academy.  This public school experience allowed me to get back in touch with the academic rigor of Kindergarten and become immersed in continuing education.  As a result I now hold endorsements in Primary Education (Pre-K- Grade 3), ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and ESE (Exceptional Student Education).   Collectively this will be my 13th year at Deermeadows!  It is SO GREAT to be here preparing students for the educational road ahead.

My role at Deermeadows is to ensure that EVERY student is receiving the instruction he/she needs to be ready for Kindergarten!

Specifically I:

  • spend 30 minutes every week in each VPK  classroom helping our students prepare for Kindergarten.  My focus is on the Language Arts and Mathematical PreKindergarten standards
  • Serve VPK students in a one-on-one setting on individual skills. This is where I identify gaps and design individual lessons to increase student understanding of difficult concepts
  • Administer the Florida Voluntary Prekindergarten Assessment to all VPK students three times per year.  This is an individually administered standardized test that is given in a one-on-one setting that takes approxiamately 30 minutes per child.  With this immediate feedback teachers and parents can readily identify strengths and weaknessess.
  • Support all teachers and parents identify if further testing is required for students. 
  • Initiate outside services and testing for students: speech, language, physical / occupational therapy, gifted, etc.  

If you have any questions about your child’s educational needs, please leave word at the front office, 645-5882.