Preparing Your Child
Use pretend play to explore the idea of child care. Take turns being the parent, child and teacher. Act out common daily routines, such as saying good-bye to mummy and/or daddy, taking off your jacket and shoes, singing songs, reading stories, having Circle Time, playing outside, and taking naps. Reassure your child that child care is a good place where they will have fun and learn. Answer their questions patiently. This helps children feel more in control which reduces their anxiety.
Read books about going to childcare. There are many books about going to preschool and day care, and you are welcome to borrow some from our Centre Library, just ask the director to organise this for you. Talk to your child about the story and how the characters are feeling. Ask how your child is feeling. Some of our favourite books are
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Pen
- My Preschool by Anne.F Rockwell
Make a game out of practicing self-help skills like: unzipping their jacket and putting it in their bag, putting on their backpack, putting on shoes. For example, you might want to have a “race” with your child to see how quickly she can put on her shoes.
Your child may also have some questions or concerns about starting at the childcare, either before or after they start. You can assist them to get ready with these two key strategies:
Listen to your child’s worries. Although it’s tempting to quickly reassure your child and move on, it’s important to let your child know that his worries have been heard. No matter what they are, big or small, children’s worries about preschool can significantly influence their experience there. Will you remember to pick them up in the afternoon? Will their teacher be nice?
Let your child know it’s normal to feel happy, sad, excited, scared, or worried. Explain that starting something new can feel scary and that lots of people feel that way. It can be helpful to share a time when you started something new and how you felt. When you allow your child to share her worries, you can help her think through how to deal with them. For example, if she is worried about missing you, the two of you can select some family photos to put in the room and look at when she is lonely.
Notice nonverbal messages. As much as 3-year-olds may talk, most are not yet able to fully explain how they are feeling or what they are worried about. Your child may “act out” his worry by clinging, becoming withdrawn, or by being more aggressive. Another common reaction as children take a big move forward is to actually move backward in other areas. For example, if your child is fully toilet trained, he may start have toileting accidents. He may ask that you feed or dress him even though he can do these things by himself.
It is natural to be frustrated by this regressed behaviour, and you may be concerned that if you do these things for him, he won’t go back to doing them himself. In fact, letting him play this out often leads to children returning to their “big kid” selves sooner. Remember that your child is facing—and managing—a big change in his life. He may need more support, nurturing, and patience from you while he makes this transition.
All families are invited to attend an orientation day prior to starting at First Learning. This allows the children to become familiarised with the environment, educators and the other children. With their parents close by, the children can experience the routines and daily activities at the centre.
Their First Day
Signing In / Out
As we are required to keep a record of attendance, we ask you to sign your child in on arrival and out when your child leaves the centre in our attendance register. Please also be sure to speak to a staff member when you arrive , and when you leave, to ensure a staff member knows if your child is in attendance.
For more information about the signing in and out process, see the Centre Policies, or the Family Handbook.
Settling in your child
We are aware that the initial separation of you and your child may not be easy.
Every child is different so we understand how important it is to work closely with that new child and family prior to the child starting at First Learning. The more effort we all put into settling the child in, the easier for the child and parent, making the initial separation easier to handle. Our procedures are as follows
- We recommend that you say good-bye to your child when you leave the centre as this develops trust between yourself, your child and the caregiver.
- We encourage phone contact between educators and parents/ guardians during the day.
- We allocate a primary caregiver to the new children and babies to ensure all the child’s needs are met and that they receive consistent care. Our childcare educators also provide daily communication with the child’s family.
- We welcome your child’s special comforting toys and blankets to the centre, but we will not take responsibility for any toys the children bring from home.
What to bring
Child’s bag including
- Change of clothes
- Closed in shoes
- Bottle and breast milk or formula if appropriate
- Nappy cream of medication if necessary