Starting nursery – feeling anxious?
Most if not all parents find it extremely difficult to let their child leave them, and the younger the child is the harder this can be. Don’t worry this is perfectly normal and we have strategies in place to help and support you along the way!
How to reduce the stress and anxiety of starting nursery – for parents that is!
Don’t underestimate how much of your emotion your child picks up on – so be confident when starting to talk and visit the nursery, and as such your child will share in that confidence.
Visit us as often as you feel is necessary before making a decision to start and take full advantage of the settling in policy and the complimentary sessions we offer.
Our ‘Settling in’ policy and process
“Parents are the most important people in their children’s lives it is from parents that children learn the most particularly in the early months and years. The closer links between parents and nursery the more effective that learning becomes.”(Ball, 1994)
We appreciate that parents may need to find childcare much sooner than initially expected, and others have time to plan at a relaxed pace – as such we will plan programme of settling in visits to suit your and your child’s needs. We will try to organize the settle sessions the weeks previous to your start date, however each child is different and we can tailor these settle sessions to best suit yourself and your child.
An initial visit to nursery usually takes place six or seven weeks before the child is due to start attending. This is a time when the parent and child are introduced to the staff team and children in their room. This visit is also where you and your child are introduced to your key person. It is an opportunity to discuss and agree the flexible settling in schedule that will best meet the needs of your child, you and the nursery team. Settling-in sessions need to start in goodtime to ensure some flexibility should the child need additional sessions. These will usually be arranged to commence a minimum of 4 weeks before your child is due to start nursery, but will take into account the needs of your child, for example where the you anticipate that the child may experience difficulty in settling then shorter and more frequent visits may be arranged over a longer period, whereas, a really confident child who is used to being left may settle more quickly.
The Key Person in association with the Nursery Management will:
- Schedule the best time for visits in partnership with you;
- Personalise settling in visits for the needs of your individual child;
- Be there for every visit physically and emotionally;
- Spend quality time with your child; and
- Take the opportunity to complete the child’s profile information alongside the Learning Journey and allow the parent and child to spend time together in the room.
A key element to the settling-in process at Enchanted Nursery is the importance we place on the parents as the primary carers and children as individuals. We recognise that parents are the most important people in their child’s life and place a great emphasis within our settling-in procedure matching, as closely as possible, how parents care for their own child at home thus supporting the transition into the nursery environment so much so we have a policy and procedure dedicated soley to this.
At Enchanted Nursery we recognise that transition times for young children and their families are times of anxiety. Staff proactively individualise support for both parents and children to ensure that these difficult times are handled sensitively and in partnership between the parents and the key person.
We encourage parents to stay with your child in the room for the first couple of sessions. This enables children to engage in the environment around them in confidence, meeting new friends and the room staff whilst still feeling the support of a familiar adult as they explore. It allows parents to develop relationships with staff and confidence in the level of care provided for their child.
During this settling-in period, we will ensure that feedback to parents includes an update of the settling progress and that an organised approach is taken in relation to whom the parent approaches for the feedback during the transition between the two rooms.
Times when more support maybe required
“Children begin their lives secure in the safety of laps, families and nurseries. But however loved and cherished children are, childhood includes times and events that maybe difficult or painful to cope with” Efler, Goldschmied, Selleck (2003)”
Enchanted Nursery recognises that there can be many circumstances, which may occur during a child’s time with us, where we need to be aware of the impact of change on a child and the need for extra support for both the child and the parents. We are all here as a team to ensure you are supported at all stages of the settling in process.
Key person and settling in visits
All Enchanted Nursery management will ensure that the organisation and planning of settling-in is effective and meets the needs of both you and your child. It is imperative that the Key Person is present at all settling-in sessions to ensure a continuity of care and consistency in communication during this time. Settling in sessions should be flexible to meet the needs of your child and yourself and it is the Key Person’s responsibility to review the progress and adapt planned sessions accordingly.
Communication with Parent/Carer
Once the place has been reserved it is very important to maintain contact with you to ensure that, by the date that your child is due to start the nursery, you feel familiar and comfortable with all aspects of leaving your child in our care. The Manager or planned key person will manage this relationship until the start date. This will help to allay parents anxieties and give them confidence to leave their child in nursery.
Your keyperson will ensure:
- Explanations are given to your child of what is happening next, – bathroom, garden, times of change, e.g. lunchtime, will enable the child time to get used to an up and coming change;
- Support your child and explain about making choices, giving permission, how they access materials, resources and provision, offering ideas, playing with them, taking them round and showing them will all also help this process;
- Acknowledge and Affirm – reassuring them verbally and through body language that it is all right to be upset, remain calm and soothing, show compassion and empathy, ‘listen’ to what the child is ‘saying’ – this may be non-verbal, it may be indicated by crying, holding on to transitional objects, sitting by a door – have patience;
- Comfort your child both by talking to them soothingly, giving them cuddles or sitting them on their lap when they need that extra reassurance and physical comfort and encourage them to engage in activities by playing with them, reading them a story, etc. Introduce them to other children and support them to play together and facilitate the development of friendships.
- Complete a Starting point assessment (SPA) in partnership with you as a parent and throughout the child’s first 6 weeks with us, ensuring they are in a good settled position to begin their Learning Journey within the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS).
The end of the day – Share the experience
At the end of your child’s day or session your key person will spend time with you discussing your child’s day, the experiences they have taken part in, what food they have eaten and how much, significant observations that have made to development or progress. In the settling in period or transition move to the next age group, your key person will inform you of how this has gone.
This time will be time for you to ask any key questions you may have about any aspect of your child’s day. If your key person is not available – due to end of shift or holiday – than another member of the key team will who knows your child well will be assigned to them for the duration of the day and will provide this feedback to you. It is important that you show interest and enthusiasm about your child’s day – and encourage them to talk about the things they have enjoyed and friends they have played with.