There may come a time when you need to move your child from one child care centre to another. You might move house, relocate to a new area, or move right across the country.
Whatever the reason, it can potentially be a source of stress for parents, as they worry about how their little one will settle into the new centre.
We spoke to Lana Weh, the Assistant Centre Manager from Little Giants Oran Park in NSW, to find out how child care educators can help with this transition.
How hard is it for children to transition to a new centre?
According to Lana, it can really depend on the child as an individual and also the emotions the parent is feeling. Children pick up on stress levels and emotions of those around them, as a cue to determine how to react themselves. So it is really important to try and be positive for your child, even though you may be feeling anxious.
Lana explains that the difficulty of transition really depends on the child. ‘In my experience, some children transition really smoothly and LOVE the whole process,’ she explains.
‘Others struggle, particularly emotionally when separating from their families. The best part of getting to know a new child and their family is watching this beautiful transition evolve.’
What can a parent do to help?
Lana suggests that positive, open conversations and lots of visits to the centre in the lead up to the transition can really help.
‘We encourage and support centre tours and playdates at our centre to support all families and children,’ she explains. ‘Whether it be returning families with younger siblings or new families.’
Lana explains that exposing the child to the centre and making them more familiar with it can be extremely beneficial.
‘Another option we suggest to build excitement for change or up and coming transitions are driving or walking past our centre, and having positive conversations with the child/ren enrolling or potentially enrolling,’ she shares.
‘It can be an overwhelming time for both families and children, so we offer as much support as possible.’ - Lana Weh
‘Families are also encouraged to call, email or visit at any time if they have any questions in the lead up to their child’s first day,’ explains Lana. ‘We keep in close contact with parent communication platforms such as Educa for centre information, updates, weekly memos and their child’s portfolio.’
What does the centre do to help a child transition to a new centre?
A child care centre is very comfortable making new children feel welcome. It’s a big part of their job! Often the child will be introduced to several educators who will form part of their support team when they start. This means that on their first day they’ll be greeted by a familiar face.
Lana explains that at Little Giants Oran Park, they use the visits prior to the start date to really get to know the child to make their first day easier.
‘Playdates offer a positive time for all educators to get to know the family and child,’ Lana shares. ‘During this time our educators engage with the families and learn about their child’s routine, interests, sleep/toileting requirements etc.’
When you enrol with a centre, you’ll be asked to complete an enrollment form which, as Lana explains, really gives the centre a lot of information about your child.
‘Families are encouraged to provide as much information as possible during the enrolment process, which our enrolment forms provide plenty of opportunities for.’
If a child was upset on their first day at a new centre, what would the educators do to help?
Lana explains that the centre’s processes are all set up to make that first day run smoothly. If a child was upset, they would offer ‘lots of comfort and support, as we understand that the child is making a huge adjustment to a new environment and new faces as they get to know their new educators.’
One of the best ways to make a child feel comfortable is to get them involved in some fun activities. ‘We PLAY as a fun way of educating and supporting the child’s transition period and development,’ shares Lana.
‘Discussions about the routine of the day take place; particularly for our older children and we keep in contact with the child’s family throughout the day.’
Hopefully, this information will make you feel more comfortable about making the transition from one centre to another.
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