Flexible ways of settling in - Home from home childcare

Lisa Colclough from Home from Home Childcare in Staffordshire talks about how new methods she has introduced such as using zoom, will continue to be used even after restrictions are eased. 

Since COVID-19, initial enquiries have been directed to our social media platforms to get an idea of how we run and what we do. If families are interested in a place, then both my assistant and I meet with them virtually via Zoom. This is done during nap time, for safeguarding reasons. Even once restrictions are eased, I’ll be sticking with Zoom for the initial visit from now on. It’s always been a concern of mine that we are lone working, often with sleeping children in the setting, and by doing the setting tour virtually I eliminate any risk whilst still giving families an initial feel for what our setting is like.

Following the Zoom meeting, if parents want to reserve a place, they are asked for all the information needed to draw up all the necessary paperwork, including contracts. These are completed and sent across to them before they are then allowed to the setting, where they meet us under the gazebo in the garden. During this meeting any paperwork is handed over.

We organise the settling in dates over email, with the only change being that parents can no longer come in, so the initial visit is for the child only, and for a shorter time. We have only been open to keyworker families and haven’t always had the four weeks we would normally spread our settling in period across, so the sessions have been condensed accordingly.

I feel that this time new process has been harder on the children. They have been in lockdown, seeing nobody, and then left in a new environment. I like stay and play sessions where the parents can join in, as we get to build a relationship with the whole family early on, and this gives the child security. Having said that, our new child has settled well and the relationship with her parents is really good too.

Resources from PACEY

Free transitions training
Looking for accessible, interactive, bitesize training to support transitions and settling in? Then log in to EY Smart where we have a whole series of short courses aimed at supporting children and their parents through the hellos, the goodbyes, and some of the other challenges we all face when things change.

Top 10 Tips
If you’re looking for practical solutions to help make your settling-in process Covid compliant, then check out this list of clever ideas, all suggested by working early years practitioners, that you can implement in your setting.