Starting a new Nursery
This can be a difficult time not only for children but for parents as well. Some children settle straight into the new routine and environment whereas some others take a little longer. This can be true regardless of the age of the child but luckily there are some simple steps that can be taken to aid the transition process. Have a look at our top tips below to see if there is anything you can do to help children settle into nursery.
Settling in sessions
Many settings choose to offer some settling in sessions; these are sessions where a child can come into nursery for a couple of hours with their parents to become familiar with the environment and their new key person. These sessions are an important time for the key person to find out everything they need to know about a child. With a younger child this may include how many ounces they have in their bottles and what stage they are at in the weaning process, older children may be able to tell you about themselves. Any concerns the parents have about their child starting nursery can be addressed here and the key person can reassure the parents and prepare them for the child starting. This is a time to interact with the child and begin to form a relationship with them. Trying to copy the child’s home routine where possible in nursery will help with the settling process.
All about me forms
All about me forms take various different formats but are a requirement by the early years foundation stage. Complete these during a settling in session rather than the parent taking them home and forgetting to bring them back. This shares important key information that will help to settle a child into nursery such as their likes, dislikes, interests. It is good practice to incorporate some starting points into the all about me forms so that the key person has a rough idea of where a child is developmentally at. It will also help plan appropriate activities that the child will enjoy and will build confidence in.
The key person
Ensuring a strong key person system is held within the early years setting will help all children to settle. The key person where possible especially in a child’s first few weeks at nursery should try to be available to greet the child and the parents. Building a relationship with the parents will show the child that you can be trusted and help them to feel confident to enter into your care. The key person is also responsible for completing regular observations and early years development tracking, therefore the key person needs to be able to spend time getting to know the child.
Many children have comforters of some shape or form whether its a blanket, teddy, tag, bottle or dummy these are an important source of comfort for a child. It is important for nursery to recognise this especially those working with the younger children. Many settings choose to have a comforter box, this ensures that children’s comforters are readily available and accessible for when the child feels they need it. As the child become more familiar with their new environment they may become less dependant on it.
Observations are crucial in getting to know a child and to helping them to settle into nursery. It will enable you to identify if there are any parts of the routine a child is struggling with in particular and why. You may find lunch time is a period that causes distress, this may be due to the child being tired and they may benefit from a morning sleep. This also enables you to tune into a child’s interests. Knowing a child’s interests means appropriate activities can be planned that a child will enjoy. Creating positive experiences where the child can feel valued and confident are important in the settling in process.
Click below to download an example of a settling in observation sheet you can use in your setting