Preparing Your Child for Childcare:
The first days of school can be a very happy or unhappy experience for your child. By your words and actions on the first few days you can help. Guard your actions about leaving your child in tears. When the child realizes that you are not available, they will accept the teacher’s guidance more readily. We suggest you take a minute to help your child feel comfortable and adjust by offering positive statements, place your child in the hands of the teacher, assure them that you will return for them and leave promptly. Parents who show reluctance to depart only make the transition harder for the child. Please never sneak out with out saying “good-bye”. Crying will usually stop a few minutes after you depart.
Many children will cry or act “clingy” during pick-up and drop-off times, but will quickly adjust and start playing happily once Mom or Dad are out of sight. Some children will have a difficult time adjusting to their new surroundings. Your child may have some fears and anxiety about being away from you. Children need time to adjust to their new surroundings. The transition process can take as long as two weeks. The staff will do their very best to settle your child in as quickly as possible. Transition from home to school and school to home can be very stressful for some children. In the morning, they may not want to say good-bye to you and at pick up they may not want to go because they are involved with an activity or another child. This is a natural occurrence and may vary with your child’s age and developmental stage. You can assure them that they are cared for and loved, and it will help your child adapt to the center as quickly as possible. During your child’s first days it is perfectly understandable for you to want to know how he or she has settled in, and so we invite you to call the center at any time to check on your child.
Blessed Beginnings understands that parents want to know that their child is in a safe place and with loving people. We welcome and encourage having you visit, or call, anytime you please. We would, however, appreciate prior notice if you wish to speak at length with a teacher, or administrative staff. Please contact us in advance to schedule an appointment. We will strive to keep the lines of communication open between the facility and family.
Prior to, or on your child’s first day of attendance we ask that you complete and turn in the child information form. This form provides information to your child’s teacher that will help ease the home to school transition. The questions on the form are specific to your child, such as: cultural identity/nationality, religious beliefs, routines and practices that they are familiar with, their fears, living arrangements, etc... Please take the time to complete this form and set aside some time to discuss the form with your child’s primary caregiver/teacher in their first week.
Preparing your child to move to the next Classroom:
Blessed Beginnings transitions children in the Monkeys, Cubs, and Bees to the next classroom on a yearly basis. Our Giraffe, Guppy, Panda, Foxes, Frogs, and Owls classrooms make transitions based on developmental readiness as well as maturation levels and space availability in the next classroom. These transitions could happen at any time during the school year. Our Koala and Bear rooms do not officially transition to the after- school program until they have completed their first day of kindergarten.
Our transition period takes place from June to September. Children are transitioned over the summer months beginning with the oldest to youngest in the classroom. Transitioning the children in this manner serves a dual purpose – it allows the child to enter their new surrounding with a “friend” and to also acclimate and learn from the current children in their new class. Moving all the children at one time to a new educational setting can be both a challenge for the teacher and over-stimulating to the children. You will be informed of your child’s class change prior to their permanent classroom change. Since our center encourages mixed-age group activities, your child will be familiar with the other teacher’s in the center.
Blessed Beginnings programs are grouped according to when your child will start kindergarten, with a birthday cut-off of September 1st. This transition schedule allows us to adequately prepare your child for their kindergarten experience.
Preparing Your Child to Enter the Public-School System
Children enrolled in our centers live in many different school districts, including some that are 30 miles or more from Williamsport. Because of this it is not possible for us to arrange group visits to schools or to provide detailed information about each district’s kindergarten enrollment procedures. Therefore, our transition process to kindergarten is focused on helping families of children who will be old enough to enter school in the fall to understand the process.
Beginning in January, the director, assistant director and/or the classroom teacher in the older preschool room will ask parents where each child will be attending kindergarten, if this is known. As information is made available from the various school districts we serve regarding Kindergarten registration, it will be passed on to the parents about when, where and what is needed for kindergarten registration. During the spring parent/ teacher conference, kindergarten transition will be discussed. Books about going to kindergarten will be available in the room and teachers will provide parents with appropriate articles if requested. Throughout this process, the goal is to create a positive expectation about a new school. The center will provide copies of records if requested by the parent or the school district. In the case of a child with documented special needs, a staff member will be available to attend the transition meeting that the intermediate unit will arrange.
Preparing your school-age child for self-care:
Knowing when your child is mature enough to be left alone is one of the most difficult decisions you will make. Blessed Beginnings offers a school-age summer program for children in Kindergarten to the end of their 3rd grade year. Over the course of the summer, our teachers use “Kids in Control: A Kids Guide to Being Responsible” to encourage self-care skills to use when they leave our care. Staff discuss self-care situations with the children. They go over how the children should handle situations in telephone conversations and letting people know they are home alone. They review emergency procedures and rules. Our staff work with all of our ages group to teach them skills that will help them when they transition from child care to self-care. Some of the ways they encourage these skills are: expecting children to clean up their own messes, encouraging them to contribute to the common good of the classroom, allowing them the freedom to do things for themselves and help in situations where they can, even though it may be more work for the teacher in the end. Children are taught to be responsible for their actions, and staff are expected to model responsibility and accountability.
Blessed Beginnings Program Transition Activities
All Age Groups
Starting a new school year:
Welcome activities –
Introduce individuals but help children, families and staff effectively guide the new changes, deal with individual needs and help everyone feel a part of the group and program.
Get to know new children, attempt to learn their personalities and temperaments to determine how each child will fit into the group.
Share expectations for interaction and talking
Encourage new friendships and help maintain prior ones.
Establish routines and schedules
Take time to meet with the parents
Transitional Activities –
Read books about transitions
Involve children in creating individualized items for each child
Set up co-operative activities in centers and practice routines
Send home an introduction letter
Have parent complete the child questionnaire and spend a few minutes with parent reviewing
Create a family tree during all about me study
Create “me” books with each child. Read the books and keep in the book center
Have each child complete an “All About Me” poster to hang up
Set up cubbies and other private spaces for each child
Incorporate “Question of the Day” in large group time
Do activities that will encourage children to develop connections with other peers.
Give warnings and let the children know what is expected and what is coming next
Stay close to the children who have difficulties with transitions
Be ready to start the day
Possible Schedule for Child During the Week of Transition
Day 1: Arrange for the child to visit the receiving room during free choice play with her/his primary caregiver.
Day 2: Arrange for the child to visit the receiving room during free choice play and outdoor play with his/her primary caregiver.
Day 3: Arrange for the child to visit the receiving classroom during free choice play, outdoor play and through lunch, with the primary caregiver only visiting the child during lunch. Make sure the transitioning child is only counted 1 time during the meal count.
Day 4: Arrange for the child to visit the receiving classroom during free choice play, outdoor play, lunch and naptime. The primary caregiver will visit at naptime only if the child indicates a need to see her/him.
Day 5: Arrange to have the child completely transitioned to the new classroom. At this time the current caregiver should move the child’s possessions to the receiving classroom as well as notify transportation staff, if applicable, of transition. It is recommended that very young children be placed in a room that they can stay in for the season because of their need to have a consistent, primary caregiver in order for them to bond and develop trust and security. However, there are times when it is necessary to transition a child under the age of two to another room. In these cases, it is suggested that several visits of 15-30 minutes per day be scheduled with the primary caregiver one week prior to transition and 30-45 minutes visits be scheduled the week of the transition, with the primary caregiver gradually weaning out of the child’s time in the receiving room. Special considerations need to be made when transitioning children birth to 24 months of age as well as children with special needs.
Prekindergarten to Kindergarten Transition Plan
Blessed Beginnings Preschool & Childcare LLC
August – October
Identify the school (or school district) the child will be attending for kindergarten
Send letter to the school inviting them to be involved in the transition
Plan weekly activities using Kindergarten, Here I Come as a resource
Plan a visit to a Kindergarten room to observe
November – January
Set up a meeting between pre-k teacher and kindergarten teacher to discuss current expectations of children entering kindergarten
February – April
Prepare a small portfolio for each child to take to kindergarten
Send home information regarding registration for child’s school district and possible screening process
Change dramatic play area to be “School”
Pretend the classroom is kindergarten for a week and let the children act out what they think it will be like
Schedule a field trip to a kindergarten classroom or elementary school
Pass on Kindergarten, Here I Am calendars and other transition information