YOUR CHILD'S FIRST DAY
Your child’s first day can be emotional and may feel a little overwhelming, please be assured that these feelings are natural. We are here to support you and have put together the following information to help you feel as prepared and relaxed as you can .
We hope you find this useful when preparing your child for their first day and ongoing education and care with Watsonia Early Learning Centre.
We recognise and honour each individual child and family and therefore work with you to develop a personalised Orientation Plan. We recommend visits to the centre before your child starts so you can both feel comfortable and confident with the environment. It is also important to talk to your child about the centre and the wonderful experiences they will have.
What To Expect
This is a very exciting time for you and your child, they will be making new friends, enjoying new experiences and exploring their new environment. Before your child’s first day, we encourage you to talk about all the fun and exciting adventures they will have. It is also extremely beneficial to visit the centre together and play (as part of your orientation) as many times as you feel you need. This will ensure you and your child are familiar with the centre’s environment and routine.
When you arrive at the centre for your first day, you will be greeted by our team who will help you to find your room and get settled in.
We encourage you to allow some extra time on your first day to sign in and out and put belongings away. We also encourage you to spend some time playing with your child along with the other children. Chat with the Manager and Educators, this will help to put your mind at ease.
When you feel ready, let the Educators know that you are going to go and start your day.
You can expect a call from us to let you know how your child’s first day is going. Feel free to call us at any time too.
Tips on Saying Farewell
Saying goodbye can be emotional for you and your child. We want you to know that it is OK to feel this way. Below are a number of tips that may help you to say goodbye when it is time to start your day:
Let your child know that you are leaving and when you will be back. This is helpful, even with babies.
Settle your child in an enjoyable activity before leaving.
To increase your child’s feelings of safety, let them bring in something they love from home such as a teddy or blanket. These items can be gradually phased out as they become more settled.
When you are ready to go, say goodbye to your child briefly and try not to drag it out.
Keep a relaxed and happy expression on your face when leaving.
Gently encourage your child to separate from you by giving them practice. It is important to give them positive experiences of separations and reunions.
This is a term you may hear used throughout your orientation process as it is common and developmentally appropriate for your child to experience some separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety in children is when they fear being parted from their parents and is common and normal among babies and toddlers. It reaches its peak in babies around 14-18 months and typically decreases throughout early childhood.
Stranger anxiety is similar to separation anxiety and involves wariness and distress in the presence of unfamiliar people. It can occur from 7-10 months and usually decreases after the child’s first birthday. These anxieties are a normal part of development and are nothing to be concerned about.
For more information, we recommend the Raising Children Network’s Article on Separation Anxiety.
What to Bring
Formula/breast milk and empty bottles – all bottles must have a lid and be clearly labelled with your child’s name.
Spare, weather appropriate clothes in case of a mishap, toilet training or water play and a coat in cold weather all clearly labelled with their full name.
Sun hat – legionnaire style or wide brim.
Comforters or Dummies, clearly labelled with their name.
Small bag to keep belongings in clearly labelled with your child’s name
Medications or creams that may be required. Please refer to our Medication Policy
We are here to support you in making your child’s toilet training a positive experience where they gain self confidence and develop independence. To assist us all in this process, we encourage you to dress your child in clothing that will make it easy for your child to go to the toilet. This includes:
Elastic waisted pants & shorts (please avoid overalls)
Providing lots of spare underwear and clothes
All children are encouraged to use their senses and explore their environments without worrying about keeping their clothes clean.
We encourage you to dress your child in clothes that support these practices, items that can get dirty and messy without upsetting you or your child.
You can download a copy of ‘A Guide to Help You Prepare for Your First Day’ here.