Starting Nursery or Pre-school
Is your little one starting at a nursery school or Pre-school this September? Is it their first time going into a new child care setting or a move from a private nursery? Are you find the whole idea quite unsettling with everything going on?
I remember the day that Stanley started at our local Kindergarten and I worried so much about him. He had only just potty trained and his eating was pretty poor. They had a healthy eating policy where a piece of fruit must be taken in for both morning and afternoon snack - a brilliant idea - but being the fussy monkey that he is I was pretty stuck for options, so he took carrot sticks and a banana pretty much every day. I tried apple but he would only eat it peeled and sliced (sound familiar anyone?) and it would go brown too soon…can you see where I got the idea for our snack bags from?
I worried about him getting too tired, getting upset or whether he he would eat his lunch and I missed knowing what he was doing all the time. It felt like another layer of control was being taken away from me. I also remember dropping him off and the inevitable tears. He would hold onto my legs and refuse to let go until his key worker peeled him off, gave him a big hug and distracted him with some trains. I left sobbing, walked home with Nancy in the pushchair and could think of nothing else. I gave them a call after what felt like a very long half-hour and of course Stanley had stopped crying immediately and was happy as Larry!
He was often reluctant to go in and sometimes got a bit emotional when I went to pick him up but he absolutely loved it and the staff taught me the best way to leave that would cause the least trauma all round (see below). Nancy was watching him every time we dropped him off or picked him up and by the time she was old enough, she couldn’t wait to get into Pre-school. I’m not sure she even looked back at me when I dropped her the first time! Saying that, she did have her moments after she’d been going for a while but just like Stanley, as soon as I had gone, she was right as rain and thoroughly enjoyed her freedom and independence that Pre-school brought her.
My children are now 8 and 10 and I’m a little sad that our nursery and pre-school days are over. Once you have settled into the routine, it is such a lovely time to see your little people growing up and spreading their wings a bit further.
12 tips to make starting a new setting fun...
- Teach them the names of the staff, particularly their key worker. Having photos with their names on at home really helps them feel safe and secure.
- Find some other children who will be attending the same setting and set up a play date before you start (or even just swap photos and talk about them). Local Facebook groups are great for finding other parents.
- If you have any worries, talk to your key worker and explain any extra information you feel they might need if your little one gets upset.
- Feel free to call and check up on them and don’t be embarrassed by it.
- If you need to provide food and snacks, make sure you show them what they will be having for both snacks and lunch or even let them help to choose, so it’s familiar.
- Make sure their food is in pots or bags that are easy to open and won’t make a complete mess after they have finished. Most pre-schools will send everything that’s not eaten home - half-eaten yogurts or half-drunk carton drinks included!!
- Do a trial run. Go to the gates and show them where the playground is and make it all sound very exciting. You know your child better than anyone and there will be something that will excite them.
- Let them take a favourite cuddly or comforter with them for the first few days (if allowed). If not tell them you will bring Teddy to pick them up later.
- Even if they get upset on the first day, stay strong and positive. Give a last hug, tell them you love them and you’ll see them later and then leave looking happy and confident. They need to feel safe, so save your own tears until you are out of view. The staff will make sure they get them settled.
- Get them to help pick name tags and choose where to put them in their coats and clothes.
- Let them choose a new water bottle, lunch bag, lunch box, snack holders or rucksack that can only be used when they start at nursery or pre-school. There’s nothing like something new to get them excited.
- My last tip is get them into a routine of going to bed at a suitable time and waking up early enough for you to get ready to go in the morning.
When looking for things to add to their lunch bags take a look at our reusable pouches. You can use them for adding yogurts or smoothies into their lunch bags…if it’s only half-eaten, the lid can be popped back on and there’s no mess!
Our snack bags are fab for keeping your snacks nice and fresh…carrot sticks don’t dry up and apple slices don’t go brown! Kids love seeing what the monsters have got in their mouths each day and I promise they will eat more good stuff when it's served inside one of our snack bags!
Our back to school offer of 10% off is valid until mid September. Use code SCHOOL10 at checkout or use this link to BUY NOW
Good luck everyone. I hope all your little ones settle in well and enjoy their new settings.