Starting kindergarten is an exciting milestone for both the parents and children. Our Managers and the rest of the team at each of our forest kindergartens are well prepared for making their first day reassuringly fun and exciting.
In this article, we’ve outlined what a typical first day at a Kids Love Nature kindergarten is like.
We’ve split it into 2 age categories as their experiences will differ slightly.
1 year olds
Only our Lytchett Minster kindergarten can accommodate children from the age of 1 years old, however we have the procedures in place so you are 100% confident when leaving your child with us for the first time. This is likely to be one of the first times you’ve left your child for a lengthy period of time, and so we completely understand that it can conjure up all sorts of feelings.
If your child suffers with separation anxiety, leaving him/her at kindergarten for the first time can be a scary thought, but believe us when we say your child WILL quickly settle into their new surroundings, in fact it’s probably more daunting for you than it is your little one!
The first few days at kindergarten are when your child and their ‘key person’ will really develop their relationship, this is a key focus of ours so is very important at the beginning.
Their ‘key person’ is who they will bond with the most during their time at Kindergarten. The approach is based on the understanding that young children need to form secure attachments to a small number of familiar and constant people in all places in which they are cared for during their formative years. We continue this approach throughout their time with us.
2-4 year olds
All our kindergartens will offer settling-in sessions before they start which will generally involve:
1- 2 hours with their ‘key person’ for both the child and parent to get to know them a little better, including what their main interests, likes and dislikes are.
The opportunity to explore the kindergarten environment both outside and inside
Meeting other parents and children that they will be starting kindergarten with
Discussions around our kindergarten structure
These sessions usually take place 1 - 2 weeks before they start so that the kindergarten setting is fresh in your child’s mind.
Their first day is very much about the child building a relationship with their ‘key person’, and feeling secure in their new space. We never like to rush any of the children as they adapt to their new surroundings in different ways and at different paces… instead, we give them chance to naturally explore and orientate themselves.
We will also encourage them to understand the routines that we have in place, such as how lunchtimes work and nappy changing etc. For children who are finding it harder to settle in,
we might suggest shorter days so they can get used to being away from you over a period of time.
How can you prepare your toddler for their first day at a forest kindergarten?
For 2 - 4 year olds, making sure they understand a bit more about what kindergarten is before they start can really help to ease them into it. The following activities can help;
Read plenty of books - reading is a great way to get your child more aware of what kindergarten will be like, there are many books you can pick up from the library or online which will help ease them into it.
Inform us of their likes and dislikes - you will have already let us know of any medical requirements on your enrolment form, however, making us aware of anything extra we should know, such as their favourite activity or song that calms them down can help our team at the beginning.
Label everything - we try our very best to keep everything in its place, but it’s inevitable that children will always manage to lose something! We would highly recommend labeling things like bags, jumpers and coats with their name so they will find their way back to you. We are also not afraid to get a little dirty, and don’t believe being outside is only for sunny days, so wearing their very best or expensive clothes isn’t recommended.
Prepare a bag - it’s no surprise that sometimes accidents happen, being prepared for this makes it much easier to deal with (and can help to avoid those unnecessary upsets). Pack a spare change of clothes (including pants) and a ‘special toy’ incase they need something to remind them of home.
Their first day will prepare them for many more milestones in their life
We can really vouch for the fact that children who have been used to kindergarten will find the transition to school a lot easier. Their time at Kids Love Nature will have taught them how to build friendships, share toys, increase confidence, practice manners and how to deal with routine.
Anything that you can do to support this important stage in their life will benefit them in the long run! You can read more about school transitioning here >> Alternatively, our friendly staff are always on hand to offer advice or reassurance during the transition.
Want to know more?
If you are concerned about how your child is going to get on when starting one of our forest kindergartens, or simply have some more questions that you’d like answered, then get in touch with the kindergarten manager, you can find their details here.
We look forward to seeing your child flourish during their time with Kids Love Nature and can’t wait for you to join the adventure with us! We have kindergartens at Avon Heath, Lymington, Marwell Zoo, Lytchett Minster and Durlston. Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with what they’re up to via the Facebook pages.