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Preparing for Preschool

Starting your child in a long day education and care setting can be a daunting experience mixed with varied emotions for both you and your child. Rest assured that we understand how you are feeling and are here to support you and your child as you transition into this new stage in your family’s life.

Please reach out to one of our experienced educators or to our friendly Director if you have any questions or concerns and we will be happy to assist you. Don’t worry – no question is too silly or small!

We recognise that each child and their family will adapt to being in a new Kindy a little differently. However, we have found that there are a few things you can do to help make the settling in period as stress free and successful as possible.

Orientation

  • Schedule an Orientation and some “play dates” with the Centre Director. These visits to our Kindy will allow your child to become more familiar with our staff members within the safety of your presence.
  • The Orientation is a valuable time for you to ask questions and get to know your child’s educators. During your Orientation a team member will show you around and discuss a number of things to do with the service including:
    • Where to put your child’s bag
    • Location of your child’s sign-in/out sheets
    • Information areas and program displays
    • Meal and sleep chart locations
    • Information about bottles, breast milk and formula
    • Classroom communication book (and other forms of communication)
    • Our online learning and communications platform
  • During your orientation encourage your child to participate in the activities and meal times on offer as well as getting to know staff and their classmates.

At Home

  • Establish a routine at home. Get a copy of your child’s classroom routine and try and mimic this as closely as possible in the weeks leading up to their start date. This includes developing clear bedtime and morning routines. Established routines can help mentally prepare children for what lies ahead and can be immensely beneficial for the settling in process. Please note that the service will attempt to follow your child’s individual sleep and meal routine if they are a young baby
  • In the couple of weeks leading up to their start date begin talking about going to Kindy in a casual and positive manner. Try to talk about their new Kindy as you drive or walk past
  • Spend some time reading books about Kindy/preschool/daycare. Use these books to spark conversation between you and your child about THEIR new Kindy
  • Discuss the idea of preschool, making new friends, having new toys to play with and a teacher who will read and/or do other activities they will enjoy
  • Buy a bag and let your child help pack it, teach them to recognise their bag, their hat, shoes and other belongings. Ensure that your child’s bag, shoes, hat, clothes, bottles and all other belongings are clearly labelled with their first and last name
  • Insure your child has had a good night’s sleep and a large healthy breakfast (if arriving after 8am)
  • If possible, make your child’s first day at the centre shorter than usual to ensure a slow and positive transition into their new Kindy
  • Bring your child into their designated classroom or into the playground if their class is playing outside.  An educator from your child’s room will welcome you and your child
  • Allow your child some time to observe the other children. They may not feel ready to join in straight away and will need to do so at their own pace. Some children benefit from you engaging in an activity with them for about 5 mins-10 mins before you leave. In some cases your child may get upset the longer you stay. If this is the case, our educators may guide you to leave your child with them. Generally your child will settle shortly after you leave. Don’t worry! We will certainly call you if they are still extremely upset and don’t settle in a reasonable time frame. Please remember you can call us at any time – no, it really doesn’t bother us!
  • Make sure that your child’s special comfort toy/security blanket is packed in their bag and clearly labelled if needed
  • Never sneak away from your child. We know it can be tempting to slip away while they are happily engaged in an activity. However, this can lead to lots of unnecessary stress for your child who feels they have been abandoned. Please make an effort to say goodbye to your child in a calm, confident and reassuring manner even if this means your child may appear stressed and begin to cry. For some children this is normal but seldom lasts any length of time. Again, we will contact you if your child does not settle. Your child’s educator will be happy to help you establish a “goodbye routine”.
Every child is unique. In our experience it generally takes around 6-8 weeks for your child to settle into their new routine and feel comfortable and confident in their new environment. Of course, for a lot of children this will happen a lot sooner and for some it may take a little longer, but our educators will attempt to communicate constantly with you about their progress.

  • If possible, allow your child to do shorter days for the first couple of weeks. This allows for a slower and smoother transition into care
  • Let your child’s educators know approximately what time you will be picking your child up on a daily basis. This will help the educators to comfort and prepare your child for your arrival, for example many children take great comfort knowing that “we are going to have a big sleep, then have some afternoon tea, then mummy/daddy/grandma will be here to pick you up!”
  • Communicate openly and regularly with your child’s educators
  • Stay informed. Read about what your child has done throughout the day and casually discuss it with them in a positive manner. Share and discuss photos from your child’s online portfolio with your child and get involved in special days (events and dress-up days etc.)
  • Remember that if your child cries on drop-off and pick-up is is unlikely that they are not enjoying themselves during the day. Talk with your child’s educators about any concerns you have and rest assured that your child is being well cared for and given cuddles and attention in your absence
  • Ensure your child is still getting to spend lots of quality time with you at home, having some special one-on-one time can be especially helpful during the transition into care. Your little one needs to know that although you can’t be there all the time you still have time to listen to and play with them
  • If you would like to encourage friendships between your child and others at Kindy, talk with other parents to set up play-dates at home

General Preparation Tips

Help your child to be healthy and safe by:

  • Having regular health checks, including hearing, eyesight and speech
  • Teaching them about road safety and stranger danger
  • Ensuring they can toilet independently & understand the importance of hand washing
  • Reminding them to cover their mouth when they sneeze or cough
  • Insisting on correct posture when sitting in a chair
  • Updating immunization

Help develop healthy helpful habits by:

  • Having them put things away after use
  • Teaching them to listen
  • Having them follow simple directions
  • Giving them small jobs
  • Teaching them way to get along with others
  • Reminding them to wait their turn and share materials
  • Teaching them to recognize and look after their own belongings
  • Ensuring that they can dress themselves. It is also good if they can do up shoelaces.

Help them to learn by:

  • Showing your child that learning is fun
  • Giving them lots of time and opportunity to play
  • Listening to them
  • Answering their questions or helping them to find the answers
  • Sharing books, TV shows and DVD’s together and talking about them
  • Selecting suitable books, apps, TV shows, DVD’s and computer programs
  • Providing them with a variety of materials to make things
  • Singing songs and saying rhymes together
  • Having them help you do everyday things

Help your child to:

  • Learn and use basic manners
  • Remember their full name, address
  • Recognise their name when written
  • Write their own name
  • Hold their pencil correctly
  • Get used to opening and closing lunch and drink containers
  • Learn to ask questions and communicate needs
  • Become accustomed to being separated from family

Parents/Caregivers can try to:

  • Be positive about school and talk about Kidergarten naturally in the conversation
  • Speak to the school if your child has any special needs
  • Listen to your child’s concerns and discuss them together
  • Ensure that your child knows what is in their bag (recess, lunch, jumper, raincoat, spare undies and socks)
  • Help your child to find a friend before you leave
  • Ensure that the teacher knows who will be collecting the child
  • Leave cheerfully
  • If your child is upset, stay for a short while and then leave. If your child does not settle, staff will contact you.
  • Expect that your child may be unwilling to come to school the second day/week. It starts to sink in that school is becoming a regular routine.

Each school day ensure that your child is:

  • Well-rested
  • Well-nourished
  • Wearing correct uniform
  • Prepared for weather changes
  • Punctual
  • Sure of collection details

Develop their independence by having your child:

  • Begin to dress themselves
  • Pack their own bag
  • Carry their own bag
  • Hand in any notes or money
  • Be responsible for their own belongings
  • Look for lost property

Share the excitement of starting school by:

  • Visiting your child’s classroom
  • Encouraging your child to talk about their day
  • Showing interest in any work they bring home
  • Taking an active part in school life
ENROL YOUR CHILD NOW