You and your child’s first childcare experience should be special. Our orientation process ensures your child experiences this memorable event in a way that makes them look forward to visiting their friends and teachers.
First up, a family tour of your preferred centre with the Centre Director.
This includes a meeting to discuss our centre procedures, programs and offerings, as well as any questions you may have about the centre, our staff or your child.
This is followed by a visit with your child’s future Group Leader, to discuss more specific needs, personality, areas for further development, goal setting and routine, all while your child plays in the room and meets their peers.
On the second visit, parents only stay for a short time. Your child stays with us for about half an hour, playing and interacting with their peers. During this time the centre will contact you with an update. A third meeting can be arranged if desired.
The first day of childcare can be an anxious time for everyone. It’s often met with tummies full of butterflies, tears and fretful goodbyes – and that’s just the parents! There are ways to help make the introduction to childcare a smooth process for the whole family, and we are here every step of the way.
Preparation is key, so talking to your child early about where they are going, how fun it is and what they will do there can really help. Casually go for a walk past the childcare centre, and mention that this is where they will be going. Have a chat about the routine and reassure your child that you’ll be there to pick them up in the afternoons. Read books and tell stories about going to childcare or preschool – these make a good introduction. Make sure you answer any questions your child may have openly and honestly, whilst reassuring them.
Go through some basic scenarios and how he or she may deal with them, such as- if they are feeling thirsty, need to go to the toilet, need help with clothing, want to join in a game.
Attend at least one orientation session with your child. It may just be an hour, but it will make them more familiar with the centre. This gives you a chance to talk to the educators about your child’s routine and things that may help settle them. Where possible, organise a play date with another child that will be attending the centre – chat to the educators and other families you may meet at orientation to organise this.
On your first day of childcare it’s best to arrive a little early, to allow some time for settling in. If possible, it’s good to ease your child in with some shorter days at the start, especially if it’s their first time at childcare, or being away from you. Pack a favourite toy or blanket so he or she have something familiar with them throughout the day.
Make the drop-off simple, like it will be once it’s part of the regular routine. And although it can be hard, avoid showing any anxiety you might have – kids are clever and may pick up on this, which could create unnecessary stress and worry. You can take comfort knowing your child will be having lots of fun. And you deserve a couple of hours to yourself!
After arriving, help your child find an activity they really like and join in for a few minutes. This really helps him or her feel settled, and lets them know it will be a fun and exciting day.
When leaving, give your child a short, confident, goodbye and let them know you’ll be back later in the day to collect them. If your departure seems traumatic, resist going back – everything will be fine.
Our educators will call you on your child’s first day, and you are always welcome to call at any time. Sometimes your child may have settled in well and been happy all day, but will dissolve into tears when you collect them – these are normal, happy tears.
While settling into their new child care routine, try and keep home life calm and consistent. Now is not the time for changes like a big child’s bed, or starting toilet training. Try and keep your routine the same – such as how and when you drop them off. This will provide a sense of security.
In some cases, your child may be happy for weeks and then become upset. The same strategies suggested for settling your child in at the beginning of childcare are effective here. Try not to show your anxiety, and you’ll find this will quickly resolve itself. Our educators are always there for you and your child, keeping a close eye on any triggers throughout the day, and will make suggestions where appropriate. As a team, we can ensure your child’s happiness.
Maintain regular communication with your child’s educators, both on a formal and informal basis. Remember, you know your child better than anyone; you are the best person to provide the information educators need to help ensure your child receives maximum benefits from their time with us. If something happens at home which could impact your child’s performance, such as the birth of a sibling, divorce, moving house, visitors or a death or illness in the family, please advise your child’s educator – enabling them to report any changes in your child.