Enrolling your child in early learning education is a big step for your child and for you. Both parents and children can have mixed feelings about the process and can experience a sense of uncertainty and anxiousness.
However, a child’s first schooling experience should not be frightening and the benefits to their growth and development are undeniable.
These crucial young years have been shown to be one of the best ways to help your child develop social, emotional and cognitive skills. This phase is the best time to prepare them academically, help them interact confidently with peers and learn more about life.
Here are a few ways to introduce your child to early childhood education.
Before the first day
We understand that this may be your first experience in having your child spend some time away from home and you might feel anxious at this time.
Many children love their first day and sometimes first week as it is so new and exciting but it slowly becomes apparent to them that they will be left at the centre. At this stage it can be a daunting time with separation. They also can be upset at the beginning if they are not used to change. Prepare ahead of time by introducing your child to classroom activities such as dancing, singing, colouring and playing. These learning activities will not only keep your child engaged, but they will also become accustomed to the feelings and experiences.
You may also make a visit to the childcare centre to meet the teachers and introduce your child to them. Pop in with your child for orientation sessions to make them feel more comfortable with the new surroundings. When your child sees them for the second time, they will feel more comfortable and at home.
The first day
Most children need some time to adjust to new situations, so it’s no surprise that the first day at a new childcare centre can lead to feelings of anxiety and tears.
On your arrival to the centre, a permanent educator from your child’s room will welcome you and your child and introduce you to the team. Your child may wish to stand and watch, or they may possibly be ready to join in an activity straight away. Let your child get a sense for the new surroundings and go at his/her own pace as they feel comfortable. Your support for the teacher and the activity will demonstrate that he or she will be happy and safe under their care.
When you feel comfortable (15-20 minutes after you arrive) we suggest saying goodbye to your child and telling him/her that you have to go but you will be back later on to collect them. Be honest with your child and tell them that you are leaving. Let them know where you are going and that you will be back. From experience, we have found that it is easier for the child to settle if the leaving process is reasonably quick. Be positive. Children sense when their parents are upset or worried and this increases their anxiety. Encourage your child to look forward to their day.
After the first day
If your child is struggling with the transition, try to establish a consistent goodbye routine. This can present a sense of normality and comfort. Some parents wave or make a humorous goodbye expression from outside the classroom window, while others have a unique handshake before leaving.
Transitional things, such as a family photo, a particular doll or a beloved blanket, can also provide comfort to a child. Keep in mind that most children adjust successfully after their parents have left. The most important thing to remember is to be patient with your child, it’s a whole new world for them.
Little Assets understands the challenges that every parent has with entrusting the care of your child to others away from home. At Little Assets, we take pride in providing a warm, happy and safe environment for your family. Your child should feel comfortable, happy and inspired in our early learning centre. We focus on beautiful and engaging play spaces designed with natural elements that enable children to flow freely between the indoor and outdoor learning environments.
Careful consideration is also given to our families and parents are encouraged to engage and enjoy the environment just as much as children. Our centre has been specially designed to provide a safe, nurturing, and dynamic learning environment for children. The high quality education program features a child-centred approach that recognises the unique characteristics of each child, with routines that are progressive, flexible and tailored to meet their needs.
Little Assets provides programs for children aged six weeks to six years, beginning with infant and toddler programs and continuing through the kindergarten program until they are ready to enter school.
Contact us to learn more about our program or to discover a location near you.