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Anna Ballanger: Common Questions When Beginning Nursery


Anna Ballanger, Head of The Garden and EYFS at Kingswood Prep School, discusses the key questions asked by parents when starting their child on their journey into early years education.

“As a parent, it can feel hard to put the care of your child into someone else’s hands for the very first time, and you may worry about how they are going to settle away from you. However, there are things that you can do at home with your child to help prepare them and you for the changes ahead.

Do take the opportunity for a home visit if it is offered to you. This gives your child a chance to get to know their key person, whilst feeling secure in their own home. Their key person will have a special role in helping them settle and make progress, and will be a vital part of your partnership with the Nursery. As all children are different, a bespoke settling in programme will respond to the needs of individual children – some may need lots of short sessions before they are ready to be left, whilst others may be confident after a couple of sessions. During these settling in visits, make sure you chat with the room staff, so your child knows that you trust the people you are going to be leaving him or her with.

Talk to your child, so they know what to expect at Nursery and what their day will look like. Read books about starting at Nursery and involve them in purchasing new items for Nursery, such as a spare clothes bag or uniform. Children pick up the anxieties of their parents, so make sure you appear confident and happy to them, however hard it may feel to leave them. Nursery staff are experts in making children feel safe and happy in their care, and will always call you if there are any problems.

Prepare your child at home for their start by getting them used to Nursery routines. This may include sitting on a chair around a table for meal times, going to sleep without being rocked or walked in a pushchair, or taking milk from a bottle or cup instead of being breastfed during the day. See if you can work towards the timings of your Nursery day at home, for example finding out when lunch is served and doing this at home for a few weeks before they start.

A Nursery will work with you in partnership to find out what is best for your child, so do share any anxieties or information that will help staff to get to know you and your child better. Joining a Nursery is a huge adventure for children, and this extra time spent preparing them before they start will make the experience a very positive one for them and you.”

The Garden at Kingswood welcomes children from nine months for 50 weeks of the year and, since opening its brand new building in September 2018, children have been able to enjoy Kingswood Prep School’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the wonderful new Art Room and multi-functional Hall.

Whether its creating crafts and paintings with the Year 6 Art Monitors or dancing in the Association Hall, these engaging spaces have given the children fantastic opportunities to discover creativity and individuality through a range of diverse activities.

With an emphasis on exploration and enquiry through outdoor education, our specialist teachers and state-of-the-art facilities provide a unique first step into a school based environment.
Published: April 16 2019

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