Settling into pre-school
Your child’s emotional wellbeing is of paramount importance within our caring group and we will support you for as long as it is needed in order to settle your child. Some children do take longer to settle into pre school, this is ‘normal’ behaviour and we will endeavour to reassure and guide you through this period should your child find it difficult to settle.
For example we will:
Organise a home visit
We understand that meeting new people can be daunting for young children, and we have found that a brief home visit (generally half an hour with 2 of our practitioners) can be a gentle way to introduce the idea of preschool. We might take a photo, and ask children if they would like to draw a picture for our art gallery. It is also an opportunity for parents to ask any questions about preschool and inform us of any special requirements (health or dietary) as well as children’s likes and dislikes. Your child’s key person is able to begin to get to know them in their own home, which helps in the settling in process. We invite all parents to have a home visit, but this is by no means a requirement.
Allocate your child a key person
Each practitioner is a key Person and has a group of children for whom she/he is particularly responsible. Your child’s key person will be the person who works with you to make sure that the childcare that we provide is right for your child’s particular needs and interests. When your child first starts at the setting, she/he will help your child to settle and throughout your child’s time at the setting, she/he will help your child to benefit from our learning environment.
Supporting you to leave your child in our care
At first we encourage parents/carers to leave their child for brief periods gradually building up to a longer time span.Children cannot play and learn successfully if they are anxious or unhappy. Our settling procedures aim to help children feel comfortable in preschool to benefit from what it has to offer and to be confident that their parent/carer will return at the end of the session.
Change the number of sessions or the times your child attends. It may be that a full day or the number of sessions you have chosen is too much for your child in the first instance and we need to adjust these. This is a decision that the staff will make in discussion with you.
English as an additional language
If your child speaks English as an additional language, we ask that you provide us with some words that will comfort and reassure your child. We collect useful phrases in our Language Bank which we continually add to reflect the many home languages of our children.
The setting’s timetable and routines
Leeds Early Years Association believes that care and education are equally important in the experience which we offer children. The routines and activities that make up the day in our setting are provided in order to:
•help each child to feel that she/he is a valued member of the setting;
• ensure the safety of each child;
• help children to gain from the social experience of being part of a group; and
• provide children with opportunities to learn and help them to value learning.
We organise our sessions so that the children can choose from, and work at, a range of activities and, in doing so, build up their ability to select and work through a task to its completion. The children are also helped and encouraged to take part in collaborative activities, which introduce them to new experiences and help them to gain new skills, as well as helping them to learn to work with others. Outdoor activities contribute to children’s health and well-being, their physical development and their knowledge of the world around them. The children have the opportunity, and are encouraged, to take part in outdoor child-led and collaborative learning with adults , as well as those provided in the indoor playrooms.
Themed Snacks and Celebrations
We try to vary our snack to suit a particular theme or celebration as it provides an enriched learning experience for the children. For example, if we have planned to explore birthdays and parties with the children we may bake buns and make sandwiches for snack time. Or if we are celebrating a festival such as Chinese New Year, we might prepare a stir fry to enjoy together.
We always welcome families to come in and celebrate their festivals with us, perhaps by talking to the children, sharing a craft or bringing some interesting foods for them to try from home. So let us know if you have any ideas! Also if it is your child’s birthday please feel free to bring in some buns or a cake for us to share out with the children. Due to allergies and intolerances, please only provide shop bought treats which have the ingredients clearly labelled.
Learning New Skills
Hygiene – we regularly talk to the children about the importance of washing hands before snack and after toilet visits.
Colour – we may set a task such as finding a yellow plate and blue cup or ask the children at snack time if they can identify the colour of the cup and plate they have.
Numbers – Before snack we tell the children about how many pieces they can have to eat and display the relevant number on the snack table.
Self service – we encourage the children to select their own food paying attention to the number on the table and pour their own drinks (with obvious support where necessary). After snack has finished the children put away their cup and plate in the washing up bowl before choosing an area to play
We make snack times and lunchtime a social occasion, during which children and adults eat together. We plan the menus for snacks so that they provide the children with healthy and nutritious food. Prior to starting at preschool we will ask you about your child’s dietary needs and we will plan accordingly.
The Healthy Snack Usually Consists of:
Carbohydrates – cracker , breadstick , toast etc
Fruit or vegetables – apple , orange , tomato etc
Protein – cheese, milk
A Drink – a choice of milk or water (Water is available to the children at all times)
Meat is never served to the preschool children.
During the summer months we may provide the children with an ice lolly and during the winter months warm cocoa!
Full days and lunch boxes
If your child is attending full day at preschool you will need to provide them with a healthy lunch. We recommend you include all four food groups i.e. Carbohydrate (e.g. bread, rice, pasta) Protein (e.g. cheese, meat) Fruit and or vegetable (e.g. apple, raisins, carrots) Dairy group (e.g. milk yoghurt). Please provide a drink (not fizzy/cans ). Treats are allowed in lunch boxes but not without options from at least two other food groups. For example a healthy lunch box might include a fruit juice, ham or cheese sandwich, piece of fruit or a smoothie and a yoghurt or baby bel (cheese). Please keep your child’s change equipment (nappies) separate from their lunch for hygiene reasons. The children do receive a snack during the morning and afternoon. This consists of a variety of fruits, cheese, raisins and crackers/breadsticks etc. During the seasons we may adjust snack to a topic based food for example at Chinese new year we may make a stir fry for snack or during autumn we may try ginger bread and parkin. Please ensure that staff are aware of any allergies or forbidden foods (religious reasons) on the enrolment form, thank you.
Toilets, Shoes and Clothes Changes
Toilets and toilet training
It is fine if your child is not yet toilet trained and we will support any training that you are continuing at home. Unfortunately though, we can not toilet train any child from scratch. If your child is in nappies or ‘pull up pants’ please do provide us with enough nappies, wipes and nappy bags to last a week in pre school. For hygiene reasons this must be in a NAMED bag separate from lunch bags.
We provide protective clothing for the children when they engage in messy play. We encourage children to gain the skills that help them to be independent and look after themselves. These include taking themselves to the toilet and taking off, and putting on, outdoor clothes. Clothing that is easy for them to manage will help them to do this. We recommend that you provide your child with a NAMED bag of clothes in case of any accidents!
For the safety of the children (i.e. in an emergency situation) we encourage the children to keep their shoes on whilst inside pre school. If you would like your child to take their shoes off in preschool, please provide them with a pair of slippers or pumps (with their name in) that would be suitable for a walk outside in the event of a fire drill.