Choochoos recogises the importance in making every transition for a child as smooth and positive as possible. Transitions can cause unsettling for any child and family, therefore ensuring the transition is meeting the needs of the child/family is vital. We understand the worrying time settling and leaving a child into a new environment can be, therefore by starting a trusting relationship right from the start can be the perfect beginning. Every transition is a smooth one at Choochoos, due to the careful planning and time we give for each child.
Choochoos carefully prepare children for any change to their routine. Adapting to any new environment can take time and be an anxious time for any child. With our key person approach embedded into our practices, our practitioners at Choochoos communicate every important detail when changes are made, with each other and parents/carers.
‘My child’s transition was very well organised and carefully thought about. We are thrilled with how well our child has settled. He loves his new room and is happy to attend’, (Parent, November 2020).
Transition from home to Choochoos
To help aid the transition from home into Choochoos, we:
- Provide a show around for the child and family.
- Parent pack meeting before the child starts with the parents/carers to share information needed.
- A key person/buddy allocated to the child and parents/carers, who will be the main carers for the child while at nursery.
- Home visit completed by the key person to meet the child and parents/carers and begin building a secure trusting relationship.
- Starting points in the 7 areas of learning created together with the key person and parents/carers.
- Island time box filled to keep at nursery with important items of interest for the child.
- Settling in sessions to meet the individual child’s needs.
- Online eyLog learning journey for each child, with parents/carers and key person contributing.
- Continued daily support and conversations between the key person and parents/carers to support the child.
‘The communication and starting of my child into Choochoos was really useful and good’, (Parent, November 2020).
Transitions from one room to another
Every child will move rooms depending on their growth and age while at Choochoos. Choochoos has a variety of rooms based on age/development. This is the only time a child’s key person/buddy would change. Due to the strong key person approach we provide, the key person is unable to move rooms with the child.
However when a child moves to the next room, Choochoos has a thorough procedure in place to help make the transition as smooth and positive for the child and parents/carers.
When a child moves rooms, the transitions consists of:
- The manager and room leader closely monitoring with the key person every child’s individual needs, development and progress, communicating closely with parents/carers.
- The manager/room leader would communicate together to decide when they feel the child is ready for the transition to the next room, with the key person.
- The key person would then speak to parents/carers to inform them of their thoughts about the transition, to see what the parents/carers also think.
- The parents/carers would be offered a show around of the next room by the manager or room leader, before any of the transition would take place.
- Once the parents/carers and key person have made the decision for the child to make the transition to the next room, the room leader/manager will allocate a new key person/buddy for the child in their new room and complete settling dates.
- The parents/carers will be offered a new home visit for the child, with the new key person to help build that relationship, before the settling sessions begin.
- The settling sessions will start with the new key person visiting the current key person/child in their current room, to discuss progress, development, care/personal needs for the child, etc. Then the new key person will visit the child again in their current room and slowly begin to bring them into their new room, these will be repeated until we feel the child is settled.
- These settling sessions will be shared with the parents/carers, along with a photo of the child’s new key person and a transition letter with information about the child’s new room and transition.
- The child’s online eyLog learning journey would be continued by the new key person.
‘My child’s transition went very well, they love their new room’, (Parent, November 2020).
‘I was initially worried about my son moving into the big room and then not being able to be with his key person all the time, who he absolutely adores. My child started to be cared for by his new key person and she has been so amazing with him. He clearly adores her too as he comes home and speaks about what she has taught him. It is so lovely to see someone with so much enthusiasm and love for the children and workplace that I just had to write in. I feel like she really cares and always gives me so much information about his day, I couldn’t ask for a better carer for him’, (Parent, December 2020).
Transition to school
Choochoos works closely with every school that our children will attend, to ensure a smooth process for any child making their transition from Choochoos to school.
The first day of primary school is a big day for both parents/carers and the child. Choochoos will support parents/carers and the child to embark on this journey acting as the perfect transition. As a parent/carer, preparing a child themselves is no easy task and that’s where the child’s key person will help support the child with the skills and knowledge to start school. Preparing children for school is a fundamental role for Choochoos, teaching children social skills, turn taking, independence, confidence, interaction, team work, self help skills and so much more. Some children may even require additional support in learning some of these skills for school, e.g. self help skills, how to eat with a knife and fork, put their coat on, etc. Choochoos work closely with parents/carers, so we can work together to develop this at nursery and continue to develop this at home for the child.
To help aid the transition to school, Choochoos:
– Create a parents/carers display for starting school. Including school open days/activities and the government application information poster.
– Advertise all starting school information to our parent/carers, by email, verbally, social media and in our newsletters.
– Guide and support parents/carers throughout the application process.
– Once parents/carers are told the school their child has been accepted into, we will create a list.
– Choochoos will contact the schools the children have been accepted into, by email/letter. This letter will be to invite the teacher in to Choochoos to see the child in the nursery environment and meet/discuss with the child’s current key person, including the child’s development, next steps, interests, needs, progress, care plans, medical needs, etc.
– Key people will create a record of transfer for the school the child will be transitioning to, which is an overview of the child’s learning, development and interests. The child’s key person will involve parents/carers in writing this document, then it will be given to the school before they start.
– Choochoos take children to school events to help build the relationship with our local schools. Choochoos encourages parents/carers to take their children to school events available to them as well.
– Within the nursery environment we can develop our areas to aid the transition to school, e.g. role play schools, school photo books, visits to the school, independence activities, story times about school, etc.
– Choochoos are flexible with children staggering their start to school while remaining at Choochoos.
– Gains feedback from the local schools when the previous children have settled in enabling us to see how the children are developing and settling. It also allows us to get more information about school practices and how to prepare our children.
For more information, read our ‘Being school ready’ section.
Transitions from/with one provision (childcare) to another
Choochoos works very closely with other provisions children may attend, e.g. a child minder, another nursery. Linking up with other professionals is very important to enable us to work together by sharing information for the needs of the child.
If a child attends another childcare provision regularly, we ask for parents/carers permission in our registration form/parent pack to communicate with them regularly. The child’s key person would make contact at least termly to share knowledge on the child, such as next steps, progress and development, etc. This contact is noted down in the child’s file and captured on the child’s online eyLog learning journey. We invite other provisions into Choochoos to develop this relationship further with our key people and to see the child at Choochoos.
If a child joins Choochoos after leaving another provision, again we would gain permission from parents/carers to make contact with the previous provision, to the find out more about the child. This information is valuable in helping the child settle in to their new environment.