Entering the world of early childhood education can be both an exciting and daunting experience for young children and their families. Most importantly though, it marks the beginning of a new chapter filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and socialising with peers.

As early education providers, we play a crucial role in ensuring that this transition is as smooth as possible, providing a supportive environment for both children and their parents.

All our long day care centres offer families additional support during their initial weeks of enrolment. Even our brand-new centres like Grow Early Education Heathmont, will implement processes like gradual entry programs which allow children to acclimate to the new environment at their own pace. This approach helps build a sense of trust between the child and the caregivers, promoting a smoother transition.

In this blog, we will explore the ways in which our Grow Early Education centres assist new children and families settle into care; transition to new classrooms; and graduate to a formal school environment.

 

Supporting New Families

First and foremost, it is important to create a welcoming atmosphere for both children and parents so that they feel comfortable right from the get go.  We encourage parents to bring their children with them when they take an initial tour of one of our centres to see if the centre is the right fit for their family.

At Grow Early Education Gunnedah, they schedule tours at times when the whole centre can be on display to families. This ensures the families can meet the entire team and view all their wonderful facilities.

‘We love to introduce the children and parents to their potential new Educators on a tour of our centre.  This assists new families with making the important decision of which childcare centre best suits them and is an important part of the orientation process at Grow’ says Grow Early Education Gunnedah Centre Director, Brianna McCumstie.

‘One of the things parents love most about our centre is our large outdoor areas.  Not only do we have lots of room for children to explore outside, but our facilities are also state-of-the-art. We have creek beds, sandpits, adventure forts, bike tracks, vegetable gardens, jumbo games and more. We like to do our centre tours when the children are actively playing in these spaces as it helps potential new families better visualise their own children utilising these facilities’, continued Brianna.

As part of our enrolment process at Grow Early Education, we book ‘Meet & Greets’ for our new families. These ‘Meet & Greets’ are also known as ‘Stay & Plays’ and this initial connection meeting is a great way to help build trust and establishes a positive foundation for the child’s experience.

Families are invited to attend 1-3 ‘Meet & Greets’ at our centres prior to their first official day of care, however they can have as many as they need to start building that important bond between Educator and child. It is important for children to feel safe and somewhat familiar in their new environment on day one of care.

Our aim at Grow Early Education is for our long day care centres to be a home away from home for the children in our care, because children thrive in environments that feel safe and familiar. Our purpose-built childcare centres are carefully designed to be child-friendly, inspiring and filled with age-appropriate educational resources. Creating an environment that mirrors the comforts of home helps children feel at ease and more willing to explore their new surroundings.

As part of our enrolment process, we also ask new parents to fill out an ‘All About Me’ form on behalf of their children.  This provides important information like how to best comfort them, what they enjoy playing, their interests etc. so that our Educators can provide build a bond as quickly as possible and provide the highest quality of care.

To best support parents, effective communication between our childcare centres and parents is essential. Regular updates, whether through daily reports or informal conversations, keep parents informed about their child's experiences, milestones, and any concerns. This transparent communication helps parents feel involved in their child's daily life at the centre, easing any anxieties they may have.

At Grow Early Education we provide families with a parent communication mobile app called Kindyhub. The app allows you to share in your child’s learning journey, including providing daily photos, stories and achievements and is a valuable tool for us to support parents.

Transitioning to a New Classroom

This is the key time of year when children begin transitioning to their new classrooms.  Children who have completed the Kindergarten or Preschool Program will be starting primary school in January or February and so many children will move up to their new classroom as space becomes available.

At Grow Early Education Gunnedah, they have children ‘visit’ their new classroom multiple times over a two-week period so that can become familiar with their new classroom, Educators and routine.

Knowing what to expect provides a sense of security for children, helping them settle into the new environment more comfortably. This predictability fosters a sense of stability, which is crucial for early childhood development.

‘We have found that classroom visits in small groups are a great way to support a smooth transition into new classrooms.  They can become familiar with the environment and Educators and know what to expect when it comes time to officially changing rooms,’ said Brianna, Centre Director for Grow Early Education Gunnedah.

‘We find that most children are excited to be in their new classroom when they know what to expect.  A classroom change is a positive experience as it provides new inspiration, stimulation, interactions and new resources to play with,’ continues Brianna. 

Preparing for Formal School

Knowing what to expect in the school environment helps children to make a smooth transition, and preparing children for this needs to begin long before their first day of school.

Our school readiness programs (Kindergarten or Preschool depending on which state you live in), equips children with the skills needed to transition to a formal school environment. However, at Grow Early Education our aim is to also ensure they are well prepared for their onward learning journey into a formalised school setting.

As part of our programs, Teachers will coordinate several visits to local schools across the year to support the children’s transition to school process. At Grow Early Education Gunnedah, in addition to organising visits to their local primary school, Gunnedah South Public School, they are also looking to introduce ‘Lunch Box Days’!

‘We know the importance of incorporating activities to support the transition to school in everyday play-based learning opportunities, such as encouraging children’s participation in group games and experiences, and having regular ‘lunch box’ days so children can practice opening and eating their own lunch,’ said Brianna.

At all our Grow Early Education centres, a formal discussion towards the end of the year is scheduled to share information with parents and Teachers and support each child’s transition to school. This discussion provides an opportunity for parents and other partners to collaboratively create a summary of a child’s learning in the form of a transition statement.

Celebrating with a Graduation Ceremony at the end of the year is also an important part of supporting children to transition to school at Grow Early Education. A graduation event can help ease the transition to big school, by showing children that it is exciting that they are moving on and there are more thrilling things to come. Above all, it allows children to feel proud for all they have achieved while they have been at Preschool or Kindergarten.

Our childcare centres play a pivotal role in helping families settle into care by creating welcoming environments, establishing consistent routines, providing relationship building opportunities, maintaining open communication, and offering transition support. Through these thoughtful practices at Grow Early Education, we contribute to the positive development and well-being of the children in our care and inspire a foundation for future learning and growth.

Are you looking to start your child in care this year?  We are still accepting enrolments for 2024, so book a tour at your closest Grow Early Education centre and start your transition journey today!  Call 1300 934 769 to book.

As the festive season gets into full swing, what better way to embrace the holiday spirit than by engaging in delightful Christmas crafts with your children?

Crafting is not just a fun way to spend quality time with your little ones; it's also a crucial component of a child's development and comes with a myriad of benefits.

At Grow Early Education, we recognise its role in nurturing various skills in children. So throughout the year, arts and crafts is a significant component of our educational programs at our long day care centres.

Why are arts and crafts beneficial for children? Engaging in craft activities fosters communication, attentiveness, imagination, and crucial developmental skills!

Here's a short outline of the skills children can grow through doing arts and crafts:

Fine Motor Skills:

Identification of Shapes, Colours, and Texture:

Creativity:

 

In this blog, we've curated our top five favourite and most popular Christmas craft ideas for you to enjoy at home with your children:

1. Paper Plate Baubles

This versatile craft allows you to use a variety of materials to decorate and hang paper plates, creating your own unique Christmas baubles. Whether it's stickers, paint, or coloured felt, choose materials that suit your child's age and development.

Here are some finished creations to give you and your little one some visual inspiration:

2. Popsicle Stick Ornaments

Transform ordinary popsicle sticks into festive ornaments, ranging from stars to Christmas trees and snowflakes. The possibilities for shapes and decorating ideas are infinite.

See below for different shape constructions and decorating ideas:

3. Hand Print Christmas Tree

Combining sensory play with craft, the handprint Christmas tree design is simple yet effective. After creating the tree on paper, canvas, or even a Christmas card, once it is dry it is then time to decorate your tree.

Here are some different designs you can make using your hand print:

4. Christmas Cookie Decorating

Perfect for baking enthusiasts, you can also involve your children in the baking part to extend their culinary skills. Use Christmas-themed cookie cutters or a cherished family recipe to start a lovely Christmas family tradition.

See below for some cookie decorating ideas and even how to create a Christmas cookie decorating board:

5. Pine Cone Ornaments

Incorporate natural materials into your arts and crafts by turning pine cones into mini-Christmas trees or creating unique figures like reindeers, angels, or owls. The natural texture of pine cones adds a unique element for children to discover and explore.

Here’s some amazing pine cone creations for you to see:

As Christmas Day fast approaches, our aim is to populate this month with festive experiences and activities for the children to enjoy in our childcare centres.

Follow us on Facebook for regular updates on our Christmas arts and craft activities, and get ready to be inspired by the wonderful Christmas creations from our Grow Early Education centres.

The holiday season, particularly Christmas, holds a special place in our hearts. It's a time for reflection, gratitude, and it’s also a chance to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate.

This sentiment is widely shared among Australians, as evidenced by the significant number of people planning to contribute to charitable causes this Christmas (47%). This makes the holiday season an optimal period for our childcare centres to perform philanthropic activities and community support work.

Since 2014, our Grow Early Education Centres have actively participated in the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, or selected local charities to support. This annual tradition serves as a valuable connection to our local communities, fostering a sense of unity and shared responsibility.

In November of this year, we launched the Grow Early Education 'Annual Christmas Food and Toy Drive.' This initiative involved selecting charities, creating donation hampers, and gearing up for the generous contributions of books, toys, and non-perishable food items.

While supporting the Salvation Army and their Christmas Appeal remains a priority, some Grow Early Education centres have chosen to back other not-for-profits, such as Angel Paws, Ronald McDonald House, Give a Little Hope, Defenders for Hope, and Act for Kids to name a few.

With our childcare centres spread across Australia in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, each hosting their own Christmas Appeal, the collective efforts of the Grow Early Education childcare centres can make a significant and positive difference.

Moreover, our Annual Christmas Food and Toy Drive demonstrates our commitment to making a positive impact locally and instilling a sense of community contribution in children. It serves as a crucial opportunity to initiate and expand conversations about generosity and gratitude with the children in our childcare centres.

At Grow Early Education, we firmly believe that it's never too early to instil the value of giving back in little ones. Nurturing generosity and teaching children about the significance of charity from an early age empowers them to have a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

For parents wondering how to introduce charity to their children, simple actions like dropping money into charity boxes, involving them in selecting canned foods for a drive, or taking them to fundraising events can be impactful. Plus, these moments offer an opportunity to discuss the importance of giving and the joy it brings.

If you're interested in joining your local Grow Early Education centre's Christmas Appeal, there's still time to get involved. You will need to be quick though, as donations and hampers are set to be collected by December 12th from all centres!

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