As a parent, it can seem very daunting to send your baby/toddler into a nursery setting at such a young age. You may feel that your child won’t benefit from being in a nursery setting or that they are too young, but we reassure you that starting nursery at a young age will give your child a great start to life whether they are a baby, one, two, or three.
At our nursery in Nottingham, we give children endless learning opportunities, from being able to walk, say their first words, feed themselves at meal times, role-playing with friends they have made, reading, and writing.
How do we manage the settling-in transition?
Here at Angels by Day, we try to make the transition of settling your child into a nursery as comfortable as can be. In doing this, we offer something called settling-in sessions. This is where your child will attend three shorter sessions over a period of a week.
In the first session, your child will be accompanied by a parent to fill out all relevant paperwork with your child’s key worker and get to know each other in more depth. Your key worker will get as much information as possible about your child, i.e. if they have a comforter, dietary needs, favourite toys, books, rhymes, if they nap, how and where they nap, etc. The key worker will spend roughly one to two hours, depending on how long is needed.
In the second settling session, your child will be dropped off and come for a short play. Sometimes, if children still need that little bit of extra support with a parent being there, we allow parents to help come in and settle them in before leaving.
The last settling-in session is usually for three hours, and your child will have a meal with us and a play. By this time, the children are usually used to the nursery and feel a little more confident about being in the setting. But sometimes, it may take some children a bit longer to get used to coming to the nursery, and sometimes, we may get tears at the door, but our nursery staff try to make the transition as smooth as possible.
What is a key worker?
So, if you are wondering what a key worker is and what they do, here is a little insight:
- Build a close relationship with your child from the day they start their settling-in sessions.
- Look after your child’s development folder, doing their monthly observations and ensuring they are on track and meeting their milestones.
- Offer support to the parents if they have any questions or concerns.
- You will have parents’ evening with them twice a year.
- Give handover to the new key worker in the next room when your child is ready to move up.
How can parents ease the settling-in transition?
Settling a young child into nursery can be a challenging experience for both parents and the child. So, if you’re wondering what you can do from your end to make the transition easier, here are a few suggestions;
Be strong and be prepared for tears.
Children can often get upset, especially to start with, but that isn’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong; it’s more likely your child’s way of telling you that they don’t want you to leave. Separation anxiety and fear towards strangers usually start at 8-9 months, which isn’t ideal as this is when many families begin to think about enrolling their child into a nursery. But over time, this does get easier; we often find that parents find it more difficult than the children!
Be realistic with your expectations.
The transition isn’t going to be perfect, but with good communication, the help of an experienced nursery team, and a good relationship with your key worker, you can create a smooth transition together. This is what we all want!
Have trust in our nursery’s expertise.
We, as nursery staff, have been through this transition many times. We know what we’re doing, and we want you and your baby to succeed – listen to our advice and work with us to find what works for your little one.
Go with your gut & keep smiling!
Your child will pick up on your emotions, so if you appear happy and calm, this will help to reassure them. As difficult as it may be, remember that you’ve chosen the nursery, knowing that it will help broaden your little one’s exposure to new experiences and skills, which will positively impact their overall well-being and development.
At Angels by Day, we follow the Curiosity Approach to Learning; we were the first nursery in Nottingham to be accredited and are one of the best! This has made such a difference to the feel of our nursery; it feels like an extended version of home, not a watered-down version of a school.
Implementing the Curiosity Approach has also had a massive impact on how our children learn. They hear and use language they wouldn’t necessarily hear at home; we use real ceramic pots and pans, giving real-life experiences.
Often, when doing a show around with new clients, they will say comments like “it’s got such a warm and inviting feeling” and “the décor and wooden furniture make it feel like you’re at home”. When entering our setting, it really is warm and inviting, and this is what we want; we want your child to feel like they are at home.