For some children the first separation from their family can be traumatic. Young children cannot conceptualise the certainty that their parents will return. Therefore, it is essential that the first few steps into schooling are taken carefully. Every child deserves a positive start to their education. They should leave the classroom wanting to come back. An induction policy is needed so that everyone is clear about procedure.
Pink Class: Prior to the child starting an optional home visit will be offered to the parents. This involves two members of staff, one of which is one of the class teachers, visiting the child at home. At this time a basket of toys from the classroom will be taken by the teachers and the child encouraged to play with these toys. The aim of the home visit is to make the child comfortable by allowing them to meet at least one of the class teachers in a familiar environment with one or both parents present and therefore make the transition from home to the classroom smoother.
Orange and Green class: Children due to start in the September of the academic year will be invited to visit the school with their parents in the preceding June. They will be able to stay in the classroom for about an hour so that the child and the parent can familiarise themselves with the room and the activities and meet the relevant staff. During this visit the parent will choose an appointment time for their child.
Your child’s first days in school
On the first day the parent should bring the child in at the appointed time, stay for about 5-10 minutes then leave the child on their own in the classroom for 30 minutes. The parent should be out of sight for these 30 minutes and must return promptly. If everything has been fine:
On the second day of school the parent will bring the child at the appointed time and leave him/her in the classroom for 1 hour. The parent should be out of sight for that hour. If the child has been very distressed on the first visit –they will only stay for 30 minutes again.
After the two day induction the child should be brought to the classroom at the time suggested by the school (to stagger the intake) and left with the teachers. The parent should ensure that their telephone number given to the school is correct so that they can be contacted if the child gets distressed. It is expected that the child will stay for about two hours a day for the first week but this will vary from child to child as each child is an individual. The teachers will give guidance on what each child should do. As they have many years of experience in settling children into school we strongly advise that this guidance is followed.
Regular attendance is essential to help the children settle in. After any absence it would be usual for children to ‘go back’ a few steps.
Children who join the school during the year should follow the same pattern of induction: pre visit with parent then initially very short visits without parents before increasing the time at the child’s pace. As each child joins the school with different experiences, different levels of development, levels of confidence etc. the length of time it takes children to settle into school can vary.
It would be useful if the child is given the right message: positive encouragement, reassurance that the parent will return. If the child does not settle, the parent will be informed and advice given.