PREPARING FOR THE FIRST DAY:
Before the first day, we encourage families to schedule at least 2-3 transition visits or play dates. Transition visits/play dates are when the child spends some time at Nature Nest accompanied by his/her parent/guardian, playing, exploring...getting acquainted with the other children, the caregivers, and the space. The goal is to create a positive memory here in this space with your child.
Each transition visit/play date should last about an hour--just long enough to have a good time, but not too long to overwhelm. By spending time here and playing together with their child, the parents/guardians send the message to the child that this is a safe space which the parent/guardian enjoys and trusts. After transition visits, once the child begins care on their first day, they will already have had a pleasant memory of playing with their parent/guardian at Nature Nest.
To schedule your transition visits/play dates, please head on over to the Book Online section of the website and select New Student Orientation.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
During transition visits/play dates, families can expect to take part in our activities of the day such as circle time, outdoor play, snack or lunch...to name a few. Your child may or may not take interest in what the rest of the class is doing and that is fine. There is no pressure to join in. Remember transition visits/play dates are simply an opportunity for you to play with and bond with your child here in this space....to make a pleasant memory. But just in case you would like to have an idea for what our typical day is like, please refer to our daily rhythm page or click here for a printable copy.
WHAT TO BRING:
There is no need to bring anything for your transition visits/play dates other than perhaps a snack for your child.
There are a few items and supplies that you'll need to bring in for the first day, however. Most families prefer to bring in these items on the last transition visit so as to make the first official day easier with a lighter load.
Please refer to our Welcome Letter for a list of supplies needed. If you should need to purchase any of these items, please consider purchasing through the links provided. These are affiliate links for which a small amount goes to the school to help offset some of our costs or fund projects.
All enrollment registration forms must be completed and submitted to the office prior to the first day. You can find all the necessary forms in the file share page once you're logged in to the members section of our site. Here is a checklist of all the required paperwork:
Completed and Signed Application
Completed and Signed Contract
Completed and Signed Medical Form
Signed Info to Parents Statement
Policies & Handbook Sign-off
MAKING DROP-OFF EASIER:
It is normal for children to be hesitant and sometimes even cry when being dropped off. It’s their way of communicating that they will miss you.
It's extremely important to let your child know you're leaving and to say good-bye. However, it is best to not say good-bye or make mention of leaving until you are ready to actually follow through and leave.
Once you are ready to leave, if your child does become upset, please reassure them in a positive tone that this is a fun and safe place and that you will be back as soon as work is done, place your child in the provider’s arms for comforting and leave. Lingering after saying good-bye often leads to confusion or anxiety, and even future manipulation attempts by the child, if older.
We know it's unpleasant to see your child (or any child) crying or upset, but we ask that you please refrain from sneaking away when your child is distracted without saying good-bye. Doing so damages the trust relationship you’ve worked so hard to establish with your little one and creates more anxiety for the child down the road. It also robs them of the opportunity to practice expressing and regulating emotions. So it is best to be clear about what is happening and provide assurance.
Remind your child of your previous transition visits/play dates and how much fun you had together. We strongly believe that by spending time here playing with your child, allowing them to see you relaxed and enjoying yourself in the company of the provider prior to the first day, sends the message to your child that this is a safe and happy place which you trust and enjoy, therefore they can trust and enjoy it here too. Drop-off time, however, is a rather difficult time to achieve that for most families, which is why we urge new families to schedule those play dates ahead of time.
After saying good-bye or mentioning that you will leave it’s important to be brief and follow through, as this too adds to the trust relationship you’ve worked so hard to establish with your little one. Therefore, don’t say good-bye until you’re ready and once you do, don’t take your child back or prolong the departure. A smile, cheerful good-bye kiss, and a reassuring word that you will be back is all that is needed. The Provider will avoid taking your child from your arms unless you verbally communicate that you want her to. This is to avoid confusion or a premature separation. Instead the Provider will wait until either you place the child in the provider’s arms or you communicate that you are ready to leave and she can take over to play with or comfort the child.
We find that when taking this approach, children usually calm down rather quickly after expressing their sadness of the parent leaving. Often times, children stop crying before the parent even drives away.
In addition to checking the brightwheel app, parents are also welcome to call anytime throughout the day to see how their child is doing.