Congratulations, you have done your research and found an early learning service that meets the individual needs of your child and your family. With the first day around the corner, it is natural that you may be feeling uncertain and perhaps not quite sure what to expect.
This is totally normal. After all, you are trusting us to look after your most treasured little person. A few nerves should be expected!
Linda our Campus Manager has many years of experience, shares some advice to help reduce the anxiety that parents can feel in the lead up to their child attending early learning for the first time.
‘While they’re at play, children are learning all the time,’ they are developing physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills within their play each and every day.
That’s something that is an extension of your home however not always available to single children or children where their siblings are at formal school.
The benefits children experience being around other children of similar ages are significant. They learn so much, such as how to manage the social aspects of friendship, sharing, communication and resilience.’
The first day for you and your child should be approached with an air of excitement and positivity. Start speaking to your child about Beach Kids and what they may expect, reassuring them that there will be lots of other children to play with and caring early childhood educators who have endless cuddles and reassurance.
This is important for all age groups, as your little one understands much of what you say, and your tone of voice, even if they can’t speak yet.
You’ve most likely already toured our campus therefore we recommend talking with your child about the different areas that you explored to get them to start imagining their first day.
‘I wonder what you might build in the sandpit?’
‘Do you think you would like to choose the bikes, boat or fort when you play outside?’
‘Did you see the lovely easels there with big sheets of paper for you to paint on?’
‘You’re going to see your teacher next week when we go to Kindy/Preschool. I wonder if she might read you a story?’
In the week prior, you can start choosing (with your child’s help) which clothes might be best to wear to kindy/preschool. Let them know that they need to have super comfy “SunSmart” clothes for playing in and that it’s OK to get them dirty.
We will provide you with a water bottle or you can choose to bring your own. Ensure that your child can open it themselves, to encourage independence however our caring educators are there to support each child every step of the way. It’s a good idea to do a few trial runs using a drink bottle (even if you’re just staying home or going to the park).
How about getting a backpack ready to take on the first day? You’ll need to include your hat and a spare set of clothes.
You can even practice the drive to the campus. Where will you park? Show your child the front of the centre and explain that this is where you will be coming next week for their first day.
Remind them that they will be able to play here and have so much fun and that you (or whoever you have arranged) will always be there at the end of the day to pick them up and have cuddles.
Your family are always welcome to come in for a couple of visits before you officially start. This is a great opportunity to visit the campus for a short time, meet the educators/teachers, and get a good feel for the environment.
Please let us know about your child’s likes and dislikes, allergies, play preferences, your family dynamic, your goals for your child and anything else you would like to share that is relevant to them. You might like to mention that there is a new baby in the house, that you’ve moved recently, or that you’ve noticed some challenging behaviour when it comes to sharing toys. Our team of educators will then be able to tailor their lesson plans to your child’s needs, and it also helps them understand your child better.
We have an online communication app called Kindy Hub, which you can set up before you start. This allows you to have a glimpse into your child’s day as the educators share photos and stories about the activities from the day.
You can even set up other users on the system, such as partners and grandparents. Get familiar with the app and ask any questions that might crop up.
5. On the first day
While it’s often a good idea to ‘drop and go’ without lingering too much (goodbyes are tough!) the first day is different. Parents or carers are encouraged to stay on the first day for around 15 minutes, to help their child settle in.
Generally, you will be greeted by the Campus Manager or an educator and shown where to put your child’s belongings.
Our educators will be set up in their designated classroom with an activity and will encourage your child to come and join in. It might be play dough, drawing, or a story. Head to an educator that your child is familiar with and mention that this is their first day at the centre.
When your child appears to be connecting with the educator and interested in the activity, you can say something like ‘I’m going to go now, and Miss Suzie is going to look after you. I will be back this afternoon to pick you up. Have a great day! Bye!’
Once you’ve said goodbye, it’s best to smile and head off with confidence (fake it till you make it), allowing the educators to reassure your child that you’ll be back later. You’re more than welcome to call the centre to see how your child has settled in. This can be reassuring in the first few days.
If you’re feeling emotional, it can be helpful to have someone to call or visit after the drop off. Arranging a coffee with a friend can be an easy way to feel supported.
When you return in the afternoon to collect your child, you’ll be given an update on how their day went (and you’ll probably have some art and craft projects to take home too).
Your child will probably be ready to fill you in on the activities that they’ve done that day. Some parents like to have a quick visit to the park or café to debrief on the first day and offer some one on one time with their child.
Starting at a new childcare centre is a big step for your child, but with these tips, you can make the transition a little easier.
Yours in quality care and early learning
Beach Kids Early Learning & Preschool Educators, Teachers and Management