If your child is starting pre-school with us soon, why not take a quick look over some of our practical steps designed to help prepare both your child and you for starting pre-school.
Don’t leave it all until the last minute! Ensure you have everything ready with plenty of time, a school bag, details of starting and end time as well as a healthy lunch. Getting everything ready will help you to avoid unnecessary stress on the first few days.
Make sure the school-bag and lunch box you choose are easy to manage, and think about the best clothes for your child to wear. That doesn’t mean their Sunday best. It means clothes your child can play in, without fear of paint splashes and clothes that are easy to manage when visiting the toilet and no shoes with laces.
Ensure Your Child Knows What to Expect
Talk to your child about starting preschool but resist the temptation of hyping it up too much to avoid your child being totally overwhelmed with the reality. Refer to our staff – who you’ve most likely already met - by their first names and tell your child about the other children, the toys, the painting, the play dough and the kind of activities you know that will interest them.
Many children have already visited the preschool in advance of term start. If not, you could ask a child you know in the neighbourhood who has attended the group to give your child a rundown on what they liked about it.
In the week before starting, explain to your child that you or another loved one will be dropping and collecting them from preschool and how that will work. Tell your child the two things you, or your minder, will do while they are at preschool to give the child a sense of the short time involved, like going to the bank and preparing lunch. It’s not too long and not too short – in fact, just enough time to have fun before being collected!
Stay Relaxed and Happy
On reaching the door each morning, smile and treat our staff like a friend. Relax and don’t fuss, and let your child know that you’re confident that they can manage. Remember that your child is alert to the emotional messages you send out, so don’t panic and don’t let the child see you crying. If they do, explain that you are crying because this is a happy day.
If your child is fine going in on the first day, just walk away and don’t look for problems where none exist. The majority of children will sail in, no problem. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee and a little treat – this is a big day for you too!
If your child does cry going in, follow the lead of the staff. Often children who come in the door crying are okay and laughing five minutes later. Rest assured that if your child is not settling, the staff will contact you. Make sure to return for pickup on time, as children can fret when they see other children leave before them.
During the first few weeks while the whole group is settling in the staff will not be able to give individual feedback. Obviously, if there is any problem the staff will let you know, otherwise no news is good news. As the children settle, you will get some feedback as to how your child is getting on and will receive written formal feedback every term.
After the session, ask your child about the sand, the books, the toys and the other children. If your questions are specific, you’ll get more information.
Settling In Time
Finally, make sure you are not under time constraints in the first week of preschool. You’ve got to be prepared to stay and help them settle in – so make sure you have that flexibility. It is important that your child doesn’t feel pressurised or hurried.
Beaumont Parish Community Pre-School Playgroup Ltd.,
St Fiachra's School, Montrose Park,