As an educator and mother, I know all too well the feeling of nervous excitement, anticipation and pride as we watch our children starting a new year at daycare or returning for another year in a new room. Reflecting on the possibilities of a year ahead, how much children have grown as people, and sharing the joy of new learning and development is exciting, rewarding and big step for parent and child alike.
But settling into a new environment brings its own unique challenges, expectations and understandings. The emotional rollercoaster of parenthood is once again set in motion as we help and support our children to negotiate change, manage transitions and build confidence in both the old and the new. As your child’s first educator, you nurture, scaffold and encourage your children to not just settle into a new early childhood year, but to thrive. What aspects of parenting promote and sponsor this attitude in our children and us?
Children are creatures of habit and establishing a good routine when dropping off and picking up is essential. Make the morning drop off positive, painless and predictable for children, as they come to expect you will confidently farewell with kisses and hugs before leaving. Always say goodbye and make this short and deliberate. Consistency is the key, as children learn to understand that you will always return to collect them. Reinforce the “pick up” with a conversation about their day, their achievements or activities. A few tears are to be expected in the early days, that is very normal and our Ganeinu educators are always on hand to support you and your child at this time. It takes time for children to learn this new routine, be patient and consistent to see genuine rewards.
Establishing a connection with your child’s day is essential. Consider ways you can engage aspects of your child day at home with them after hours, as you talk, share and help them unpack their experiences. At Ganeinu, we utilize Kinderm8 to provide you and your child with images, dialogue and knowledge of our curriculum based experiences. Sharing this with your child enables you both to establish a connection to our learning community, our staff and environment.
Continuity between home and preschool is a vital element in helping your child feel secure and a sense of belonging. Speak with your child about the transition, provide time for questions, transition visits and recognize this an adjustment for you all. What aspects of home can you see in your early childhood setting and how can this promoted to support your child.
Children will always mange changes and transitions when they are active contributors in the process. Encourage their contribution to this new routine – help them pack the bag , pick out a book to take to preschool or a family photo to share for news. A child’s contribution is vital to the settling process.
Communication with early childhood staff enables them to better support, nurture and build relationships with your family. Share your child’s likes, dislikes, individual routines and preferences. Help us to support you as we learn with you and from you.
With this in mind the five C’s offer practical parenting tips to establish and guide our children in their new adventures:
* Consistency – routine and predictability
* Connection – creating a bond between home and school
* Continuity – reinforce feelings of security
* Contribution – involve your child
* Communication – relationships matter.
Wishing you all a settled beginning to the year of education, care and adventure!