Settling your child
Each child’s reaction to settling into kindergarten and the time it takes to become comfortable is dependent on many factors. Some will settle easily on their first day, while others may become distressed. Even somewhat confident children can find the adjustment difficult at first. It is important to know that the team of educators at GEKA will work closely with you and your child to facilitate a successful transition to kindergarten. Exchanging important information and developing collaborative relationships with educators will enhance your child’s transition to kindergarten and ensure a smooth settling process. In a quality GEKA kindergarten program, your child will have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships and to engage in experiences that will benefit them now and in the future.
What you can do to support your child to settle?
GEKA kindergartens will commence the year with staggered starts (see your kindergarten schedule for further details), enabling children to gradually build up the length of time they spend when starting, gaining both experience and confidence with their new environment, peers and educators.
Providing a Family Photograph (which helps to develop a connection and sense of belonging to the service) and completing the GEKA ‘Getting to Know You Form’ and sharing with educators the interests and favourite activities of your child that they can refer to when supporting your child to settle in.
If your child speaks another language at home it is important to share key words in this language to support communication.
Establishing a consistent routine when you come to kindergarten:
- Signing in (and as the year progresses, children will learn to sign in too)
- Finding a locker so your child can put their bag away themselves
- Putting the lunch/snack box on the trolley
- Helping your child to wash their hands (to prevent the spread of germs)
- Saying goodbye and leaving
Always say ‘goodbye’ when you are ready to leave. Some families think it is better to ‘sneak away’ when their child is not looking, but this can create feelings of mistrust and intensify the anxiety of separation. It’s important to follow though and leave when you say you are going to leave, as returning again can prolong the child’s distress. Provide your child with a reasonable timeframe for your return by putting this into words your child can understand, for example “I will be back after afternoon tea”.
Talking about kindergarten with your child, what will happen there and letting them know that they will have a good time, will help them to settle. It is also a good idea to talk about the educators with your child, by referring to the ‘Educator Profile Photos’ (provided at enrolment). It is also important that your child knows you are confident about them being at the service.
Asking your educators for updates and advice about how your child is settling. It can be helpful to call the kindergarten later to see how your child has settled. Children who become very upset when they are left often settle very quickly and happily once the actual separation is over! If separation takes time, the educator may develop an ‘Orientation Transition Plan’ to further support your child. This plan is developed in collaboration with you to share consistent strategies to facilitate a successful transition.