There are a number of things that we the teachers and you the parents can do to make this ‘settling in’ period easier and happier for you and your child.
Before the first day:
With your Child:
Prepare your child beforehand. Talk about Magic Garden and the key teacher so this new teacher becomes familiar.
Feel free to arrange visits with your child at a time arranged with the supervisor. Make several visits to the center before the actual starting date.
Remind your child how to wash and dry their hands before and after eating and toileting. Remind them how and when to blow their nose and to cough into their elbow. These are strategies we use to minimize infection in the center.
Children’s clothes should be those that don’t matter if they get dirty with paint etc., and they should be easy for children to get off for toileting and for children to dress themselves. Name all clothing and shoes. We encourage shoes that children can manage themselves. Have a named sun/winter hat.
Have a roomy back pack clearly named. Let your child help pack the bag with a complete change of clothes, more underwear and trousers if your child is still being toilet trained and a wet bag (for dirty/wet clothes).
Provide us with a family photo to bring with your child as he/she begins at Magic Garden, which will be displayed on our family shelves.
As a Parent:
Be realistic on your child’s first day – all children love their parents and miss them when they leave. It may take time before your child feels secure and fully comfortable with the new relationships they are building. This is quite common and understandable. Please tell your key teacher how you are feeling.
Be positive. Children sense when parents are upset or worried and this reinforces their anxiety. Feel free to talk about how you are feeling with your key teacher. Show your child how to look forward to their day. You can phone the center if you want to know how your child is managing.
Be honest with your child and tell them that you are leaving, where you are going and when you will be back.
If English is not your home language or culture, discuss with your key teacher differences your child might encounter between home and Magic Garden. Be prepared to help the settling process.
Have a back up system worked out for when your child gets sick at Magic Garden.
Story Park is a two way communication tool for you to use to contact teachers and learn about what is happening in your child's day, if you don't know how to use Story Park have a look at our Story Park blog on the website or watch a tutorial in the app.
Let your child walk into the center beside you.
If your child sleeps during the day and has a ‘comfort’ toy, bring it and show it to your key teacher.
Let your child venture forward at her/his own pace, let them stand and watch. They may not be ready to join in an activity straight away.
Connect with your child’s key teacher to support your child’s settling.
With your key teacher, go over your child’s normal daily routine so we can keep their pattern as close to home as possible (e.g. sleep times).
Saying goodbye: We have found it is easier for a child to settle if the leaving/goodbye process is fairly quick. Our advice is that when you feel comfortable (10 – 15 minutes) give your child a big hug and kiss and tell him/her you have to go now and that you will be back to collect them – then go. Tell a teacher when you are leaving. The same practice every day works well.
Rest assured the teachers are very sympathetic to a new child’s distress and will respond in the most appropriate way, such as:
cuddles and love,
sitting on a teachers’ lap and watching for a while,
giving them their special toy/blanket to cuddle,
involve them in an activity.
Feel free to phone the center during the day to find out how your child is doing. Should your child become really distressed your key teacher will phone you and tell you honestly how your child is coping. They will also tell you if they think your child has ‘had enough’ for the day and should be collected.