Starting pre-kindy can be a pretty challenging time for parents and children alike. As a parent, you may worry that you’re doing the right thing by your child, and you might just not be ready to wave goodbye to your baby just yet.
For children it can be extremely daunting. Heading off to a new place, with new adults, new children and a change of pace.
Some children will handle it beautifully and will be excited to explore their new environment. Others will handle the transition a little less smoothly. However, there are some things you can do to make sure the transition is a little easier for everyone. Here are our tips to help prepare your child for pre-kindy.
Talk to your child
First things first. Talk to your child and explain where they will be going. Explain that they will be meeting all kinds of new friends, and that they’ll be having fun with their new friends every day learning new things and playing together. Ease any worries they might have by letting them know that who will be picking them up from pre-kindy.
Give your child some control
Involve your child by letting them pick out their clothes for the day, get them to help pack any changes of clothes that they will need, and if they have to take a packed lunch then make it together. That way they will have something to look forward to during the day. It’s also a good idea to let your child bring in a security blanket or toy if they are feeling a little apprehensive ahead of their first day (just make sure this is clearly labelled!). Children thrive on routine so keeping to the same schedule in the morning will help to ease their transition.
Some pre-kindy programs will allow for a playdate so that children can get comfortable with their educators and peers while mum or dad are still close by. The shorter play will allow them to explore the new surroundings and get comfortable before they begin longer days. On these play dates children will also get an idea of the layout of the service. They will get shown to the toilets, where school bags go and the fridge where lunches are kept. At Meerilinga there is a welcome book especially for children to help them get excited ahead of their first day.
End of day routine
At the end of each day that your child is at pre-kindy it’s a great idea to sit down together once they have had a chance to unwind from a busy day. Ask them how their day was, if they had fun, did they make some new friends etc. If they are back again the next day start at the beginning and talk them through the plan for the day.
At the end of the day, a pre-kindy program is the best introduction to learning for your child. You will both adjust to the change of pace, and they will settle into their new surroundings learning through play-based activities which will build their independence, resilience, confidence, social skills, cognitive learning and problem solving and of course basic math, language and literacy skills. Hopefully these tips to prepare your child for pre-kindy have been helpful!