Here are some practical tips to help you and your child ease into day-to-day life at preschool.
Your child develops and learns more in her first five years than at any other stage of life. Going to preschool can enhance and encourage your child’s incredible development and learning. It can also meet your child’s increasing need for stimulation.
Arrival and departure
Children’s Services regulations require you to sign your child’s name and arrival time in a supplied book when you drop your child off at preschool. You also need to sign that you have picked up your child and at what time. This is a legal requirement for preschool.
Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that doesn’t restrict your child’s movement is best for preschool. Your child will also need a hat for playing outside. It’s a good idea to help your child learn to handle zips and buttons so he can go to the toilet.
Some preschools ask you to send fruit for your child to share with the group. Others prefer your child to eat her own snacks. Some long day care programs might ask you to supply your child’s lunch, but other programs supply lunch. Ask your preschool for details.
Preschools must keep a formal written record of any medication your child needs. You’ll need to provide a written authority for this.
It’s a good idea to speak with preschool staff if any problems come up. Working things out quickly can prevent bigger issues.
All preschools have safety rules which parents need to know. These will include:
- who has permission to collect your child
- any out-of-bounds areas for children
- traffic issues, such as parking.
Sick children are best kept at home, for their own benefit and so they don’t pass germs on to other children. If your child has an infectious illness it’s a good idea to let your preschool know so the staff can inform other parents.
You need to supply a hat, because your child’s skin is more sensitive to UV radiation than adult skin. Preschools are responsible for providing shaded play areas and making sure children use sunscreen and hats.
It’s best to avoid outdoor activities between 11 am and 3 pm in hot weather (and 4 pm in daylight savings).
Toys from home
Each preschool has its own policy on whether children can bring toys from home. It’s best to check before your child packs his favourite teddy in his bag.
Preschools rely heavily on parents helping out. If you can help out, there are lots of opportunities to take part in the day-to-day activities or to be involved with preschool management.
Your preschool’s philosophy will be outlined in its information booklet. Details of the educational program might be displayed in the building and you can talk about it more with staff. You might also get a regular newsletter keeping you up to date with the current program.
Your preschool will have policies to deal with issues such as:
- managing behaviour
- fee payment.
This information should be on display within the preschool.
Fees and the way they’re collected will vary from preschool to preschool. It’s a good idea to ask about your preschool’s policy ahead of time.