Christmas is over, hot January is well underway and your child is looking forward to starting ‘kindy’ for the first time.
The whole family is excited about this new adventure!
Things are looking good. You have managed to book your child into your chosen preschool and you have marked the attendance days and start time on the fridge calendar. Tick!
It is only a week till starting …. it is time to check your list to make sure all is in readiness for a smooth start.
It is a great idea if you and your child can go to the preschool to ensure they remember what it looks like.
Talk through how this new adventure will play out – where you will park; how you will sign them in; that they will put their bags in lockers (there is a new word!); and join the other children at play or on the carpet with the teacher.
Preschool or kindergarten teachers are right behind you. They do a great job in building children’s confidence and setting up routines which provide a safe and stable place.
So visit the preschool, even if you do not go inside, peer through the fence and talk about what fun it will be. This is an excellent tip for the days before the start of the year.
Some items on your checklist ……..
The first thing to think about is your child’s clothing.
- Kindy kids get dirty and acrylic paint (especially blue colour!) seems to make its way through even waterproof smocks! So don’t send your child in a party dress. Clothing needs to be clean and practical.
- In summer your child will definitely need a hat (although some kinders provide a standard one for each child).
- You will need to have some child friendly sun screen to apply before they leave home.
- Your child will also need sensible shoes that are not too difficult to take off and put on. Many preschools will not allow thongs for safety reasons, even the young children’s ones with the elastic backs.
- Put an extra pair of underpants and a pair of shorts (summer) or track pants (winter) in their bag . Young children often become so involved in play they leave it too late to go to the toilet.
- Encourage your daughter to wear her hair in an elastic tie or similar as head lice seem to bob up wherever there are groups of children!
Name the jumpers and other items which might be taken off during the day and teach your child to recognise their own clothes. This is particularly good training for school.
Many preschools provide their own food but if you have to pack a lunch pack make sure you follow the preschool rules.
Even if your child does not suffer from allergies and lives on peanut butter sandwiches at home, you will need to explain to them that such foodstuffs will not be allowed at preschool. The preschool will undoubtedly let all the parents know if there are children with severe allergic reactions enrolled and what foods should not be brought to school.
This is the beginning of many rules becoming important not just for your child but also for you!
Of course, if it is your child that has an allergy it is very important to have had conversations with the preschool director at enrolment or before the actual start day to provide them with an anaphylaxis action sheet. These sheets often completed by your doctor will form the basis for how the staff will react if they feel your child has an allergic reaction. If the reaction is severe you will also be asked to provide an epipen and/or other medication such as antihistamines with instructions on how to administer.
This also applies to children with asthma or diabetes who need specific care and support should they have an attack or episode.
Ensure your child is up to date with their immunisations. This may be the first time that some children come into contact with many others and therefore they are particularly vulnerable to catching bugs and childhood diseases. Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) (email@example.com) will provide you with your child’s immunisation history statement.
In Victoria, under the ‘No Jab, No Play’ legislation, before enrolling a child, early childhood services must obtain evidence that the child is:
- fully immunised for their age OR
- on a vaccination catch-up program OR
- unable to be fully immunised for medical reasons.
‘Conscientious objection’ is not an exemption under the ‘No Jab No Play’ legislation.
This may not be the case for other states, so you will need to check with your local health services.
Contact details and other important information
Sometimes these details change over the Christmas period and will need updating.
Ensure that your emergency contact knows they may be called upon to pick up your child, particularly if you are working. You may even need two people in case, as everyone seems to be busy and children fall ill at the most inconvenient moments! Keep these contact details up to date.
Make sure your child knows that these people may pick them up if you cannot get to the preschool in time.
Be upfront about your family situation which might have changed over the summer months. Preschool staff are professional and hold information about a child and family confidential. It is very important to let the director know if there is a parenting plan or consent orders approved by a court.
Despite the excitement, your child will be very tired in the first few days, especially if the weather is hot. So although it is a great idea to start making new friends and having play dates, be aware that fatigue can lead to upset behaviour. Take the early days easy, with plenty of rest time and good night sleeps.
It is also important to ensure you are on time for pick up in the early days. Children are building trust in the teachers and belief that you will be there at the end of the day.
It is an emotional time as your ‘baby’ begins to cut the apron strings, so parents should ensure they take care of themselves too!