How to Achieve Successful Transitions from Home to School!
Stepping Stone School is uniquely qualified and committed to help support warm and positive transitions at all levels.
The teachers and campus administrators at Stepping Stone School are specially chosen for their Kindness, Helpfulness and Empathy. They are educated from day one to provide a seamless transition between home and school for our children AND parents. We know that All parents want their children to be loved, cared for and to be treated with kindness and acceptance. We do all we can to ensure your children experience this daily!
Stepping Stone School professionals treat each child as an individual and will spend time getting to know the children on their own terms. They will come to understand what helps each child transition easily. Children are greeted by name and engaged in comforting conversation while being introduced to the classroom environment and their new classmates. We prepare in advance to welcome our children and families by providing a cubby and nap mat with their name so they know they are welcome in their new community.
Stepping Stone School also pioneered having live feed video cameras in classrooms with a viewing monitor in a communal area of the school. This has allowed countless eager parents to watch as their children transition into their new surroundings and meet their new friends! We take special care to send pictures, videos and notes directly to parents on the first day of school using our Platinum Learning Link™. This wonderful electronic communication service provides daily updates to parents, and any other family members you choose to participate. Grandparents love it!
Your peace of mind at all times is of paramount importance to us! Our campus administrators welcome phone calls from parents to check in on their children. We happily transfer calls to the classroom so parents can speak directly with their child’s teacher.
One of the greatest gifts we as parents can give to our children is to allow them to become resilient by experiencing new and changing situations. Extensive research on this subject and more information can be found in some of our other blogs. (Higher Order Processing Skills to Improve Resilience in Children)
Socialization with other children is also extremely important for each child’s development. Learning to meet new children and caregivers, and overcoming natural shyness or fears is another form of resilience. We are here for you!
Achieving Success During Transitions
There are several proactive measures parents can take to lessen their own feelings of anxiety and support a more positive experience for their child:
- Become Familiar with the Center or School. Get to know the environment and your child’s teacher before the first day. Stepping Stone School offers both virtual tours during the school day and in-person tours after hours providing parents with several safe options to become familiar with their child’s new school.
- Ask questions. Be prepared with questions regarding health and safety procedures. Confirm you are a part of a school family which holds your child’s safety and security in the same high regard you do. (View our safety information here)
- Consider a “Warm Up” Visit. Bring your child in for a few hours. A visit like this allows your child to meet some of the other children, the teacher, and play with the toys.
- Request a contact. Ask the administrator to send an email or call you on the phone to inform you as to how your child is adjusting their first full day.
A change in routine can be challenging for young children, but there are measures parents and caregivers can take to support children as they prepare for a positive learning experience:
- Establish morning routines. Before the start of school, go through similar steps each morning as you prepare for the big day. Plan on providing yourself an extra 10-15 minutes during this transitional time.
- Provide age-appropriate expectations. Provide your child with an age-appropriate understanding of the safety measures in place due to COVID-19. It is helpful for your child to know their teacher is going to wear a mask, and that even though you may not be able to walk your child into the school building, one of our caring teachers or administrators will walk your child to their classroom. (View our COVID-19 information here)
- Send positive signals when saying good-bye. You may feel sad or nervous as a parent, but all expressions to your child should say, “Yay, you are going to have SO MUCH FUN!” When you model calm positive behaviors, your child will do the same.
- Create a good-bye ritual. Consider a special good-bye handshake or a hug-kiss-high-five routine. Practice this ritual with your child prior to the first day. Let your child know you support them and understand how they feel while keeping good-byes brief.
- Acknowledge the “Good-bye.” It may be tempting to leave when your child is distracted, but this can cause unnecessary stress. Acknowledging the good-bye and letting them know you will return builds trust.
- Remain consistent in your routine. Once out of home care begins, work to keep to your routine. During the work week, going to school on the same days, and dropping off and picking up at the same time builds consistency in their routine.
As their new daily routine becomes more established, children feel at ease. When handled as we do at Stepping Stone School, these separations become an opportunity supporting independence and resilience in your child, while at the same time, providing you with the peace of mind knowing your child is well cared for, safe and healthy.
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Hoffmeister, K. (2020, Sep.). Separation anxiety and back to school: Facilitating a smooth return during COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.uth.edu/news/story.htm?id=dc4414d0-f5e4-4de2-bb67-49ea3bf6dc6c
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Stonehouse, A. (2008). How Does It Feel? Child Care from Families’ Perspectives. Redmond, WA: Exchange Press.
Stonehouse, A. (2009, Dec.). Positive goodbyes: Helping children and families to manage separations. Putting Children First, 10-12. Retrieved from http://ncac.acecqa.gov.au/educator-resources/pcf-articles/Positive_goodbyes_Dec09.pdf