Before a child starts to attend the setting, we use a variety of ways to provide parents with information. These include written information (our Welcome Booklet and other literature), photographs showing activities within the setting and individual conversations with parents (face-to-face, by telephone or by e-mail). We run show round visits and an Information Session for new parents so that we can talk about our practices and procedures and answer queries.
Before your child starts, we provide opportunities for the child and parents / carers to visit for at least one session.
We offer a home visit by the child’s Key Person and the Pre-school Manager, to ensure all relevant information about the child and their family can be made known.
We allocate a Key Person to each child and family before they start to attend. The Key Person welcomes and looks after the child and parents on their visit session and at the child’s first session and during the settling-in process. The child is given a photo of their Key Person to keep over the summer.
We provide feedback about how the settling-in is going by a variety of methods – face-to-face, telephone and written.
We use the home visit to discuss the child’s admissions forms with the parent / carer. We also take a photograph of the child which will be displayed on their coat peg to welcome them when they first come in.
During the home visit and information session we explain the process of settling-in to the parents / carers and jointly decide the best way to help the child to settle into Pre-school.
We ask parents to tell us about and if necessary provide anything that would help their child to settle. For example a comforter. We also ask parents of children whose first language is not English, to provide us with a list of familiar words that staff can use with them during their session.
We take a shoe box to the home visit that we invite the parent and child to decorate at home before their settling in visit. The shoe box contains information on how to help prepare a child to start Pre-school, a picture of their key person, a list of our favourite stories and songs. We ask the parent and child to fill the box with photographs and objects that the child is familiar with. The 'chatterbox' then stays at Pre-school and is used to help reassure children during their settling in period.
When parents / carers leave we ask them to say goodbye to their child and explain that they will be coming back and when.
We ask that the parent / carer or close relative remains available to come back if needed should their child be upset or distressed during the settling in visit and/or first few sessions.
We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe that a child’s distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the Pre-school. If a child is crying continuously, staff will try their best to comfort and settle them. If they are still very upset after 20 minutes, we will call their parent or carer to come back to the Pre-school.
If we ask a parent to return to Pre-school because their child is upset, we request that they stay in the setting with them and if possible, try to resettle them so that they leave feeling happy and do not associate the Pre-school with being upset.
If a child continues to be distressed at being left, we will work with the parent to decide the best way forward for their child based on their individual needs.