Preparing for the Early Learning Journey
Those first days in an Early Learning Centre (ELC) can be just as daunting for parents and carers as they are for children. But they needn’t be, especially at a great school like Haileybury.
Establishing routines, knowing that your child is in good hands and helping them to understand how enriching this experience will be can help ease them into this new environment.
Becoming familiar with the ELC program, environment and educators will help you and your child to develop a sense of connection and belonging from the start.
For many of us, particularly if we are leaving our child for the first time, saying goodbye can be stressful.
It is important to understand that by remaining calm and clear, you are supporting your child’s development, self-confidence and connection to their new environment (DET, 2016).
When it is time to leave, reassure your child that you will return for them later. For some, it is useful to specify that you will be back after rest time, or after lunch, for example.
Trust that you have made the right choice and that the early childhood educators have your child’s best interests at heart.
They will provide every child with opportunities to connect with new friends and engage in stimulating learning environments, while enjoying the best of education and care.
Demonstrating this trust to your child when it is time to leave is an important first step in supporting their growing independence.
Depending on your child’s needs, a staggered beginning to the school year may help. Talking with the ELC educator will help you to develop a positive plan for the weeks ahead.
Routines can help you and your child adjust to the expectations of a new school year.
Now is a good time to develop a schedule for you and your child’s transition. Photographs or images of their routine can support expectations of what comes next.
Where possible, make a chart together using images and words, including a morning and night routine.
Referring to the chart may also nurture your children’s agency and independence, while providing learning opportunities.
Now is a good time for children to practise putting on their new uniform and shoes, exploring how their lunchbox works and working out what to bring in their backpack each day.
Where possible, allow time in the mornings for children to prepare for the day ahead. Support your child as they put on their uniform and pack their bag for the day. It could also be useful to keep uniform items in a special drawer or place where your child can reach them.
Where possible, allow time for ample sleep. Children will spend their day engaged in new experiences, developing new friendships and learning new routines.
A good night’s sleep and time to rest are important for their health and wellbeing as they adjust to their new schedule.
Consider a pre-bedtime routine to support a good night’s sleep. Having a predictable supper, bath, story and bedtime can help children to wind down and prepare for sleep.
The early years of life are a peak period for growth and development—and quality sleep is essential.
At the ELC, we know that nutrition plays a key role in children’s health, wellbeing and development. A healthy lunch supports their nutritional needs during this time of rapid growth and development.
Preparing your children’s lunchbox together may not always be practical. Where possible, discuss healthy options with them and ask what they would like to make or include.
For healthy lunch ideas, speak to your educator or look at the following link : Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood.
At Haileybury we do all that we can to ensure the transition into our ELC environment is positive for all involved.
All our educators are available to answer any questions for the families of new and prospective students.