This is an exciting time, although we understand that the first month can be challenging for you or your child. The new routine can be made easier by planning ahead and being prepared for what to expect. Here are some tips to help you and your child get through the first month in their new environment.
A few weeks before your child’s ‘first day’, drive past the centre and point it out as an exciting place which will become a second home.
Each space within our four centres is creatively imbued with colour, artworks, books, toys, building materials, photographs, art supplies and natural materials. You may like to begin to talk about all the fun things your child will be doing each day with new friends and lots of great toys.
Even reading our introductory brochure together can be a good way to share some photos and highlights with your child.
Some parents find it useful to start leaving their child with friends or family for short periods so they begin to get in a routine where they know they are safe and that you will return.
You may like to even visit the centre for a few quick visits. Your child will slowly get used to the new smells and environment making the first day more familiar. There will be lots of new toys, sounds, faces and voices so encouraging your child to play and engage in a few observational activities can be really beneficial.
Completing the “All About Me” sheet for your child will outline their likes so that the educators can plan similar activities for their first day to help with the transition.
CHECKLIST FOR WHAT TO BRING:
- A bag (we usually recommend a locker size bag) and put your child’s name on the outside.
- Change of clothes (labelled) – Singlet, underwear, t-shirt, shorts, socks (spare shoes if newly toilet trained)
- Jumper or tracksuit especially during the cooler weather
- Dummy – labelled (if needed)
- If toilet training: extra sets of clothes
- Bottle for the day with milk or formula – labelled (if needed)
- Comfort toy or item (if needed)
- Covered shoes (no thongs please as these can cause a safety issue)
We encourage the children to interact and feel connected to the physical environment around them so we ask you to not bring additional toys or entertainment items such as CDs, DVDs. We have plenty of wonderful resources to play with in each room and lots of resources for outdoor play. Each day is also packed with well-planned activities run by our educators so there is no need for additional entertainment items.
Please also avoid packing lollies and junk food for the children. Any healthy food or snacks should not be left in your child’s bag, instead please give them to a staff member.
ON THE DAY:
We recommend the following pick up and drop off routine on the first day.
- Have small breakfast
- Sign on the roll
- Greet a staff member
- Unpack bag
- Show child where their locker is
- Get your child settled into an activity (if possible)
- Make sure that you say goodbye to your child so they know you are leaving and that you will return. This is reassurance that you will come back is a great comfort.
- Leave directly without turning and looking back
- Arrive early (short days are much easier during the transition period)
- Try to see your child playing before they see you
- Your child will probably start crying when they see you
- Spend some time playing – get them to show you what they have done
- Have a short talk to the educators
- Sign your child out
- Take your child’s bag and any other belongings home with you
- Read through the ‘Days Update’ together with your child at home to reinforce the fun they had and what they learnt
This is an exciting time so it is natural that you feel happy and excited for your child. Of course, it is also difficult time as it is a brand new milestone. It is common that children cry during this transition period. In our experience we find that children tend to settle in better if you are able to give your child to a staff member to cuddle if they are crying. If a parent shows that they are confident and comfortable with leaving their child at the centre, the child is more likely to settle in better. If a parent is upset and shows hesitation, children pick up on this. While most children cry on their first day, most parents have a bit of a cry too. This is a big milestone and it is normal to be emotional; just try to save the tears until you are out of sight!
It is also normal for your child to love it for the first day or week but then cry every day for a month afterwards. Everything is new and can sometimes distract a child during the first few days, after the ‘newness’ has worn off, that is when they realise that they miss their loved ones.
Our loving educators are very experienced with helping a child (and family) to settle in, they are always on hand to talk to and to get advice on the best way to settle your child into the centre.
Walking into one of our centres, you can witness a rich sense of interaction and connection among all the members of our family community. We welcome you to join this family and we love parents to visit at any time.
We also plan a lot of special days such as concerts and performances where the children put on a special show for the parents. We inform you of these upcoming events via newsletters, Facebook and announcements at each centre.
We also have information evenings, parent nights and warmly encourage any parent help or visits. Recently we have had special Moana performance and a Dietician talk from our Care for Kindies parents.