September Beginnings – Championing Your Child…
I remember vividly as a child the nervous/excited feeling of a new term. The lady in my playschool was kind and we had bourbon biscuits for snack, but I didn’t like outdoor play as there was always, as I remember, a massive queue for the slide.
Being a mum and having to negotiate these settings from the outside was a totally different ball game. My eldest had to be prised off me every morning in the nursery cloakroom. It was an excruciating time and even though with my professional experience I trusted she’d be looked after and be completely fine within 20 minutes, I hated it.
Once our children step over the threshold of pre-school, nursery or school it can suddenly feel like we lose control. Here are some things I have learnt to ensure that you can negotiate this time with total confidence that YOU know your child best.
The Art of Goodbye
So, this is hard. As a Foundation Stage teacher, I have watched a million different ways of breaking away in the mornings. As a rule, calm and quick is the best. To execute this with confidence make sure you have said everything you need to say on the way to school e.g. Don’t forget to drink water, your snack is in your bag etc.
At the point of saying goodbye, I have found two things work well. Firstly, say that you will see them again later. This provides a deep assurance. Secondly say goodbye and go. Don’t come back for another kiss, don’t even look back. This is hard but is clear and secure for your child and forms a consistent routine.
If like me, your child pins themselves to you like a constrictor, resist hugging but rest a hand to acknowledge. Let other staff assist and when able, leave. Alternatively see if you can get someone else to do the drop off for a while. Painful, but it normally passes with time and growth.
Communication is Key
Building a relationship with your child’s education setting is vital. The more open this relationship is the better it is for your child. Be confident in asking staff (via email if not possible face to face) how they have been at the end of the day and in turn share how they have been at home. Also, although it’s hard, if something tricky is happening at home, please share that too, it can radically change the support the children are given in the day.
YOU Know Your Child Best
Knowledge really is power so the more you can share about your unique child the better. The curriculum is heavily invested in the interests of individual children, so do confidently share what they love. This way staff can respond to this by talking about it, sharing it and even adapting what they provide during the day to match with this. If they have done something amazing at home tell the staff or take it in to share. Your child will see that they learn, grow and achieve both at home and in the education setting.
Celebrate the Day
As a rule, children will not tell you about their day when asked but will volunteer this information when ready. My youngest would always share about her day in the bath. Resisting the temptation to reach for any negative points, I tried to respond with as much interest and joy as possible. This approach supports your child to understand how much you trust and value their setting and they can then feel increasingly safe and thrive.
When I was pregnant with my first an older colleague and trusted friend advised me, ‘Your job is to take this little package and to teach it to fly’. In that moment I was presented with the realisation that my child is not my possession but my precious responsibility. So, as you wave the painful goodbyes, be confident that this is your child who YOU know best and you are doing a great job in the first steps to independence.
You’ve got this.
Images: © Redan / © Shutterstock