As it gets closer to your child’s first day at Everlearn it is normal for both of you to experience a range of feelings. This is a big step for your family and it is completely natural for both parents and their children to have difficulty parting from each other, particularly when they have not previously been apart for any length of time. Each child’s experience of starting preschool is different and while some children eagerly join right in, other children need a longer time to adjust. No matter what stage your child is at, we’re here to make their transition as smooth as possible.
Remember, many of our team may have already met you and your child on your tour or orientation morning, and we have taken the time to read the information you have provided during their enrolment. We already have a good picture of their individual needs and we’re really excited about them joining our preschool community!
Before the big day
- Make sure you have completed all your enrolment and paperwork requirements. Most families are eligible for up to 85% in subsidised fees so we encourage you to complete your Child Care Subsidy application with Centrelink before you start - read more here...
- Be positive about starting. If you are apprehensive about leaving your child, they will be apprehensive too. (Children tend to pick up on parent’s feelings and often magnify them).
- Visit us prior to your child starting - we always encourage an orientation in your child’s group before they start with us (speak to the office about options for this).
- On one of your earlier visits ask us about setting up your sign-in pins and Storypark account before the first day. This means you won’t have to worry about this on the first day.
- Give our team information about your child, their habits, things they like, their routines and language(s) spoken at home. This can also be shared through your enrolment form or through Storypark.
- Organise your school bag the night before (read what to pack below).
What to pack
- 1 preschool bag.
- 3 pairs of underpants (more if toilet training).
- 1 spare set of both summer and winter clothing (in case of sudden weather changes).
- A drink bottle for water (water is also provided in cups).
- Sheets for rest time, if needed - 3-5 years group only. Sheets are provided for 2-3 years group.
- Lunch – please send an easy and accessible nut-free lunch for your child to manage eating on their own. Lunch is part of our School Readiness Programme, so please keep this in mind when you are packing your child’s lunch box. Our team help the children with their lunch, but the goal is that prior to going to primary school they will be able to open/unwrap all parts of their lunch unaided. We like to encourage healthy eating habits - please pack mostly nutritious healthy food and ‘treat’ foods only sometimes. Please do not send your child with food that needs to be heated up - this is part of our School Readiness Program.
- Any medications or creams that may be required to hand to the office. Please complete our Medical Admin Form online prior to handing over any medication.
All belongings should be clearly labelled, so that our educators can return all items to their correct owner. Each campus has a Lost Property tub. Please check this regularly.
Please dress your child in comfortable sun-safe clothing that is easily removed for toileting and suitable for running, climbing, painting and playing in materials such as sand, water etc. Messy play is an essential component of a child’s early learning and is encouraged at Everlearn so we discourage sending your child to preschool in their ‘Sunday best’.
Parents are also requested to apply SPF30+ broad-spectrum water resistant sunscreen to their children before they arrive at Everlearn Preschool each morning, however we also have a sunscreen station in the foyer in case you forget. A named legionnaires hat will be provided at the time of enrolment and remains at the preschool so it is not lost or forgotten.
Your first day
This is a very exciting day for your family and for us! Your child will be making new friends, delighting in new experiences and getting to know the place that we hope will become like a second home for them. As you arrive, you’ll be greeted by our friendly team and we will help you find your group and the key educators who will be working on every aspect of their early education in their time with us. We encourage you to chat to the educators and Centre Director as we are all eager to get to know your family. We advise you allow some extra time on your first day to sign in and out and put belongings away and settle your child.
When you feel ready, let one of our team know that you are planning on leaving and wish your child a warm farewell, letting them know that you will be back in the afternoon and will be excited to hear about their day.
Here are a few suggestions we hope will help make settling into Everlearn a bit easier:
- Don’t leave home in a rush. Make sure you have some time to speak with the educators and staff.
- Let your child bring in something comforting from home such as a favourite stuffed animal or a security blanket.
- Allow 5-10 minutes time to settle your child. Either rushing in and out or lingering too long can add to the anxiety.
- Establish a routine for dropping off your child. Children usually like some time to put away their bag first, then like you to settle them into an activity or chat/hand them over to a educator who can hold their hand whilst you say goodbye. Try saying goodbye to your child from the gate or give a special goodbye signal such as ‘blowing a kiss’. Try these along with any other ideas you may have to see what works best. When you find something that works stick to it.
- Promote conversation with your child.
- Follow our updates on Storypark updates so you can discuss your child’s preschool day with them.
- Call us during the day if you like – this can be reassuring.
- When you arrive in the afternoon give your child a big cuddle. Tell them you have missed them and that you love them.
- Encourage your child to wave goodbye to their educators.
- Always say goodbye to your child. Children feel insecure and become clingy if they think you may suddenly ‘disappear’. This builds trust between you and your child.
- Leave quickly and smoothly once you have said goodbye.
If you are having difficulty separating from your child, please let one of our team know so that they can quickly comfort your child and allow you to go. Separation anxiety is entirely normal and something that most children face at some point or another. Some great information on dealing with it can be found here on the Raising Children Network.
Once you’ve left we don’t want you worrying about whether or not your child is settling in, feel free to call us at anytime. The settling in process can sometimes be just as upsetting for the parent and a phone call may just ease your mind. Likewise, if we feel your child is not coping with their day we will ring you.
Other ways to help your child to settle into care is for them to bring in a photo of their family and display with others. This can be discussed and shown at group time.
- Review any Storypark posts about your child’s day. Often the children enjoy looking at these too which can promote discussion about their day.
- Read any written communication about your child’s day (e.g. nappy changes and sleep charts).
- Chat to our team about the activities your child enjoyed and any new friends that they made.
- Ensure that you have collected your child’s belongings, especially any comfort items and have checked their family pocket.
Each child at Everlearn is an individual with unique needs. We recognise this and will always offer them the help and support they need to feel happy and secure at the preschool. We want the experience to be a positive one for both you and your child so from now until they transition to primary school we are able to build the foundations for an everlasting love of learning.