Your child’s first day & settling
After the child/family has a home visit, the child will be encouraged to visit Choochoos for three separate settling in sessions, free of charge. These settling in sessions are shorter than a full session to help ease the child into the nursery environment and new experiences. However every child is different and individual, so our settling process reflects every child’s individual needs, working closely with parents/carers.
‘Choochoos is lovely, the staff are always welcoming and make you feel at ease’, (Parent, December 2020).
What are settling sessions?
First settling session (one hour approximately)
The first of the settling in sessions is the shortest and consists mainly of the child being introduced to their new environment, surroundings, routine, other staff and children, alongside their key person and parents/carers. This settling in session is an opportunity to help aid the child in becoming more familiar and comfortable at Choochoos, with parents/carers present for this whole session.
Second settling session (two hours) & third settling session (two/three hours)
The second and third settling in sessions are also a very important time to allow the child to become even more familiar and comfortable in their new nursery environment and routine. The key person will be present during these to support the child in starting nursery, alongside the parents/carers. However we encourage parents/carers to leave for part of these sessions, to enable the child to understand that their parents/carers are leaving and returning, so it is not a shock when their full sessions begin. The amount of time parents/carers leave is based on the child’s well being. It is also vital for parents/carers to stay during these sessions to begin building a trusting relationship with the child’s key person.
All settling sessions are dependent and planned around each child’s individual requirements and needs. During the settling in sessions parents/carers will be shown the child’s personal space and many other items at Choochoos, e.g. tray, peg, parents/carers displays, food log, etc.
Island time box
During the parent pack the manager gives the parents/carers a small clear box, known as our ‘Island Time Box’. These are required to be filled and brought back during the child’s first settling in sessions at Choochoos. These are provided for the parents/carers with the child to choose items important to the child to fill the box with. We discourage favourite items to be used, as this box will be kept at nursery for daily use. The ‘Island Time Box’ will only be used at times, such as settling in, one to one time between your child and key person, times when your child may want some familiar reminders, small group times, for comfort, etc.
Island time boxes allow the child take ownership and develops their confidence in sharing and having the items with them at nursery. These are required to be updated as the child’s interests change.
Ideas for items to put in the box are:
- Soft toy, well known to your child.
- Favourite smell on a material.
- A particular item the child may be currently interested in.
- Family photo of parents/carers, siblings, grand parents, friends, etc.
- Photo of home or family pet.
- Comforter, e.g. dummy, toy, special clothing/material.
- Favourite music or character.
- Photo of the child doing something with family, e.g. visit to zoo, etc.
What happens on your child’s first day?
- Parents/carers will enter Choochoos lobby and ring the bell to the room that the child is part of.
- Parents/carers will be greeted by the manager/EYP who will then guide them to the child’s key person/buddy, if they are not at the door.
- The key person will guide the parents/carers and child to the child’s peg to store their coat and bag.
- Conversations will happen between parents/carers and key person about how the child has been, what they have been up to, personal needs information, etc.
- The key person will share with the parents/carers the plan for the day for their child and what they will be learning. Parents/carers are encouraged alongside the key person, to settle the child into a activity before leaving and then say goodbye.
- A staff member will accompany parents/carers out of the building at all times to ensure safety for all.
- The child’s key person will spend quality time throughout the day with the child, supporting their interests, personal care needs, progress and development.
- Parents/carers are welcome to call at anytime to see how their child is getting on during their day at Choochoos.
- Throughout the day the key person/buddy/EYPs will document written observations, including photos/videos of the child’s time at Choochoos. These observations will be uploaded on to the child’s online eyLog learning journey, (they may not be loaded instantly due to monitoring).
- At collection the key person/buddy will be available to feedback to parents/carers about the child’s day, including their well being and involvement, what and how they have been learning, their progress and development linking to their starting points, the activities and experiences they have taken part in, along with their personal care needs.
‘My child says they love the outdoors and sand pit at Choochoos’, (Parent, November 2020).
Choochoos daily routine slightly differs in each room. Each routine is flexible and adapts depending on what is taking place in the room each day based on planning, child’s interests, events, spontaneous events, weather, community, etc.
Please see the example of the daily routine for a normal day at Choochoos or refer to your child’s room parents/carers display for their individual routine.
Displayed in our lobbies are our parents/carers rota. Parents/carers are welcome to attend our sessions at Choochoos at any time. This can be to visit Choochoos, take part in the sessions or activities we provide, share their own occupation or hobbies, etc.