It's never easy for a parent to drop their child off for their first day of school. For Hamilton resident Steve Klingenberg and his daughter Greta, it was tougher than he had ever imagined.
"When we were at home, she was super excited about going to preschool and then when we rounded the corner for school, she started to cry," Steve recalled about the first day of school.
After arriving to Sandyview Elementary's Hawkeye Preschool, Greta was unsettled and clinging to her father's leg begging him not to leave. Unfortunately, that continued on the morning of every school day for the first month.
"She really struggled with transition and finding her balance of where to go and where to play," added Hawkeye Preschool teacher, Leslie Russell. "It was tricky, we had to some things with the doors so she wouldn't push it and run out on her own."
Steve, who has two other children at Sandyview Elementary, said he was on his last ounce of hope for this school year.
"I was going to forget it," he admitted, "I thought she was too young or something but I was going to forget it and just keep her home."
Miraculously, at the end of September, Greta's behavior towards school all changed.
"It was like a switch," Steve smiled, "she started warming up to everyone here and now she asks if she has to go to school and she's all about it."
Slowly but surely, Greta began to make friends, enjoy her time with staff, and play throughout the day. Steve says he gives the Hawkeye Preschool staff all of the credit for their work with her, even on those hard days.
"I'm very, very thankful," said Steve, "The staff stayed with her, they didn't give up. Every day when I walked in, they gave Greta a big smile and she warmed up to them and now, she's learning a lot and becoming very smart."
Upset preschoolers is nothing new for Mrs. Russell, Carmen Dykstra, and the rest of the Hawkeye Preschool staff. However, Greta's story has been particularly rewarding after seeing the progress she has made, both in her learning and relationships with friends.
"We tell all of our kids if they're sad or mad because their parents have left while they're here, that's okay," Russell explained, "But we love them and care for them and we want them here. We miss them when they aren't here."
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