Your little one has formed a strong attachment to you and now needs support and time to form another strong bond with us. You know that they’ll be looked after and will have fun, but they need to learn from experience that they’re safe and that the staff here will care for them. This is why a settling in period is so important.
The settling in period is a gradual introduction to the other children, activities, our daily programme and our staff. It is also a gradual withdrawal of your presence, and we will make sure these two aspects are carefully and sensitively balanced. At first the nursery may be an overwhelming experience, particularly for children under 3, and for those who have not had experience of a playgroup, childminder, or some other form of care outside the home. Your child’s personality will certainly make a difference: some take to the change very easily, whilst others need more care and time.
We make the transition easier by giving your child a key worker to help them settle in and feel safe and confident. The key worker will either be chosen by your child during your visits or allocated by us. It will be the key workers job to form a strong bond with you and your little one during the first visit, settling-in period and on-going weeks and months of childcare. We will make sure they are around for the duration of that early period, and we will also introduce you to a second key worker just in case the primary person is away.
At first, your little one will need your support and presence to be able to cope with the new experience. This is why your first visits will be short and we will not ask you to leave your child at all. However, we will use these visits constructively by talking with the key worker and other children, and perhaps drawing your child into whatever activity is going on. When you leave for the first time it will only be for a short while, so, together with the key worker, you can tell your child that you will be nipping off for a minute or two then will be back to play with them.
We don’t have an exact plan for how long the settling in time will take, we usually plan for visits across two to four weeks, during which time we can get to know you and your child. You will be invited to leave your little one for progressively longer sessions. We also try to cover different times of the day, to introduce them gently to toileting, snack and meal times. We will work with you to learn all we can about the best way to care for your child. For example, is there anything your child particularly likes or dislikes, are there any ‘family words’ for particular things, does your child have a special comforter and so on.
Your child's well-being is central to everything we have to offer and the settling in period will be tailored to the child's individual needs. These early days will provide the foundation for a trusting and strong relationship between the whole family and the key person. Your key person will be responsible for the day-to-day care of your child and for the observations and assessments that help to inform us of your child's current stage of development and of their next steps in learning. Most importantly please speak to us if you have any worries, concerns or questions.
Some of the lovely comments we have received from parents at the nursery...
"The baby unit staff really impressed me. I felt very comfortable leaving my baby with them"