Preparing for Beginning Early Care & Education
So you’ve made the decision to go back to work or begin your child’s early education.
Placing your child in preschool or childcare requires some preparation that will set your child up for success and his or her optimal well-being. We understand that changing routines, new encounters and separation can be stressful for both child and parent, and we want to make your experience as comfortable as possible.
To that end, we’ve compiled a list of items and suggestions to help you and your family feel prepared and confident for this important and exciting transition.
What can I do to help my child get excited about his/her new school?
- Talk with older children about preschool – what it means, what to expect and what they will be doing. Be prepared to answer questions, although don’t be surprised if your child asks about seemingly minor or even nonsensical details if this is the first time he or she is thinking about spending time away from you.
- Be positive. Talk up the school’s features, activities, teachers and how much fun your child will have with her new friends.
- Show some photos of their school and classroom if you have them.
- Bring your child to his or her campus. Visit together and/or arrange for your child to visit for a couple of hours.
- Make sure your breastfed infant is comfortable taking a bottle. A good time to begin introducing a bottle is around 3-4 weeks of age, after breastfeeding is well established.
What do I need to bring to Stepping Stone School with my child?
All children – All items from home must be clearly labeled with your child’s first and last name.
- Extra clothes, including socks. If your child is potty training, you may want to keep more than one set of clothes in his or her cubby.
- A photo of your family for your child’s crib or classroom family board
- Up-to-date immunization record & doctor’s statement of health
- Warm clothes for outdoor play, if needed
- Any medication your child needs to receive during the day. (Ask your campus principal about our policies on medication.)
- Optional – favorite stuffed animal or other security item
Infants – Stepping Stone School provides crib sheets (laundered daily), diaper wipes, snacks and nutritious hot lunches for infants who are eating table foods.
- Diapers (cloth or disposable)
- Diaper ointment
- Baby food, if applicable
- Breast milk or formula in already-prepared bottles
- Optional – pacifiers, frozen breast milk or shelf-stable, prepared formula for back-up.
Older children – Stepping Stone School provides a nutritious hot lunch and snacks each day your child is in our care.
- Diapers or training pants, if needed
- Blanket & crib sheet for nap time
- Optional – sippy cup, small pillow
Morning drop-offs can be stressful for both you and your child. Here are a few tips to set the tone for your child’s successful and enjoyable day:
- Establish a routine. Experts say that a hug and kiss, followed by a smiling good bye and leaving is positive way to reassure your child.
- Avoid the urge to linger or return. Your actions can convey your anxiety to your child, making him or her more uncomfortable with your leaving.
- Know that your child will most likely be done crying before you even reach your car. Our teachers are adept at engaging children, taking their minds off any distress they may be experiencing.
- Feel free to call or stop by to check on your child during the day. We understand that placing your child in another’s care can weigh on your peace of mind, and we’re here to help!
- Read more about how our experts can help you and your child with separation anxiety.
This is an exciting time in your child’s development and being prepared can go a long way toward making your child (and you) relaxed and comfortable with his or her new routine and adventures. Lean on your campus principal if you have specific concerns, but rest assured that your child will adapt, thrive and become prepared for elementary school in Stepping Stone School’s nurturing and educational care.