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First Nursery Experience? Help is here…

Here at Little Diamond Nursery we try our best to help your children settle in quickly and enjoy their time with us. However, it can be quite daunting for your child as a first experience (and even for first time parents.) Following is some advice that may help these first few days go smoothly.

Boost his social confidence

Socializing with others is a skill that we have to learn at some time. It comes easier to some children that others but, as with any skill, they get better with practice. Do not worry if it is a slow road, children usually play alongside others before they learn to play together which should start when they are around 3 years old. While you do not need to hover over your child, it is worth keeping an eye on the group in case a squabble starts over a toy or game. You want the whole process to be one that they enjoy and want to repeat often. Taking your child to indoor play-areas or to the park will help them to play along with others and allow them to start the socializing process.

Time away from parents

It will be a much easier process for your child if they have been used to other carers (like grandparents, friends or other family members) and spent some time away from you. Start off by leaving him for short periods – an hour while you go shopping, for example – and then gradually build it up until your child is happy to be left for a whole morning or an afternoon without you. Most children won’t like being left with preschool workers they don’t know at first, but it shouldn’t be long before he comes home chatting about what “Mrs X said” and “Mrs Y did”. Do expect your child to cry for the first few days, but rest assured, they usually stop crying a short time after you have left. We will inform you if your child becomes distressed or is crying too much. Often we have children crying at the end of the day because they do not want to leave!

Talk about the centre

Look at the photos of the centre together and talk with them if they like the look. Ask their opinion. Do not take the decision lightly, talk with your child before making any decisions but we are confident that you will love our environment and so will your child. Visits are possible after hours, but you need to make an appointment as we are limited to the amount of people allowed in the centre at one time.

Potty training

We do not expect your child to be potty trained when they first come to us, but we do encourage the process to start as soon as possible. Once your child is regularly using the bathroom at home, just inform us and we will continue the process here. We will give plenty of reminders but do expect a few accidents, especially at the beginning while the child adjusts to the new environment. For that reason we ask to have at least 2 changes of clothes to be kept in the nursery if needed. Please do not reprimand your child if they have an accident as it may set back the process.

Feeding themselves

We try to encourage independence from an early age, therefore please provide food that is easy to eat. The staff will be on hand to help out struggling children, but feeding each one by hand would take far too much valuable time that would be better served in the activity areas. Do make sure that you inform us if your child has shown any allergies so that we can avoid any reactions. We do not share food between the children, but we may have a special snack day, or taste some foods in the activity times.

On the first day

  • Try not to stay too long hovering and looking worried or he/she will think something is wrong. Be positive and happy so that he/she sees you like and trust the teacher, it will give them confidence. Children pick up on emotions easily.
  • When it comes time to leave, explain that you will go and come back after an hour or two. Do not sneak out as it will break their trust in you. Then wave/kiss bye and leave with a happy smile.
  • Make sure that your correct contact details are with admin in case they need to call you, and keep your telephone close.
  • When you have left the nursery, try not to worry. The staff will contact you if they feel you need to come earlier or if there is any problem. The chances are that your child will probably be too busy to notice you have gone very long.

Borrow some books to help

Check in your local bookshop for children’s stories on starting school/nursery E.g. I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child, Going To School by Anne Civardi and D.W.’s Guide to Preschool (Arthur Adventures) by Marc Brown. Also talk to your child about the sort of things they are going to be doing at the nursery like reading, play-doh, painting, building blocks, puzzles, sand and water play, etc.

Problems settling in?

  • Some children find the experience of starting preschool stressful and still won’t settle after a few weeks. Don’t worry and don’t blame yourself – just accept that children are all individuals and your child will get there in the end.
  • Find out from your child’s key worker or carer what happens once you’ve left. Do they continue crying inconsolably throughout the session or do they perk up 10 minutes later once they’re distracted by an activity?
  • Try building up sessions gradually. Start with just 30 minutes and build up the time gradually each week until they’re able to stay a whole session without you.
  • Some children will settle better if you keep your goodbyes brief – lingering may only make the whole process more painful for your both.

Don’t fret about letters and numbers

When you ask your child what they did today, often the answer is ‘nothing’ or ‘I played’. Do not be deceived by these answers as they are probably right in a way. The best way for children to learn is through play and what we consider a learning experience and a planned activity is just considered play for a child. The teachers have a timetabled and activity plan whereby they are providing directed activities that will enable development and suitable skills.

If you would like to continue the learning process at home make sure it is fun. Count everyday objects like red cars while on the trip home, cushions on the chair or toy cars in the box; bake cakes or cookies and let your child measure the ingredients; play dress-up to role-play; and paint, scribble, draw, mould play-doh, color, make collages, and all those other arts and crafts. Please also remember that we do not use the letter names but use phonetic sounds to help the start of reading, if you are unsure what this means or for pronunciation, please ask reception for a phonics alphabet sheet. Remember that your child has a good 14 more years of basic education ahead of them, so we concentrate on social skills as well as introducing the basics.

Health and Covid19 protection

We are doing our best to ensure that your child is safe and protected. Nursery life is a little different that it used to be, but we try to make it as much fun as it is intended to be. These first years of your child’s education are the most important as they build the foundation of their education. If they have a great experience to start, they will learn to enjoy and learn school and the whole learning process. This is what we try to instill in our students, encouraging a love of learning, exploration, creativity and having fun.

Due to the Covid19 virus, we have has to change the dropping off process, and we will try to take it as easy and painless for you as possible, However, we ask that you help us by sticking to drop off and pick up timings, wearing masks in the centre, and keeping the time spent in reception as small as possible.

We are constantly cleaning, disinfecting and making sure that each child is protected from contamination or any possible infection.