September is a month of mixed emotions for nursery staff. As someone with 35 years of childcare experience, I understand the challenges this month can bring.
By now you will have said goodbye to children moving on to school, moved children into their new rooms and welcomed new children (hopefully lots of them) into the nursery. I know it's a busy time chasing and updating paperwork, adding the children’s information and ensuring that all staff have the relevant information for each child. I also realise that being stuck behind the computer is not where a Nursery Manager’s time is best spent.
Welcoming new children and managing room transitions can be exciting and stressful. It can sometimes seem like the whole nursery is unsettled. In my experience managing multiple nurseries, I have found the following to help:
Try where possible to have the child's key person available at drop off times – that familiar face for both the child and parent can ease the emotions and create a real sense of belonging.
Ensure the parents/carers say goodbye to their child when leaving them at the nursery. This will help the child to settle as they will understand that their parent/carer has left but will return!
Ask parents/carers of young children to send something with their perfume on – this means the children have a familiar smell during the day and will help with separation anxiety.
Make a note when the children are settling in of their current interests or favourite story/songs or rhyme – when the little one starts at the nursery try to incorporate these into the day to help them feel settled.
Regular updates during the day to the parents can help ease nerves and will build trust and engagement
The key is also to utilise the software at your disposal to the best of its abilities. By keeping the information up to date and correct, you will save considerable time and effort over the coming months.
September may bring conflicting emotions, but hopefully with these small tips and tech solutions, you can navigate this crucial period with grace.