Flexible ways of settling in - Pebbles Childcare

Chloe from Pebbles Childcare in Worthing discusses the importance of confidence, knowing your setting and how you could use video to promote your setting.

The best advice we can give other childcare practitioners is just be yourself; do what you do with confidence. If you are anxious about transitions and settling in, especially in the current circumstances, parents and children alike will pick up on this and this can negatively impact upon not only the transition process but also your relationships with the parents and children.

You know why you do what you do and that you are doing the best job possible to keep your children and families safe, so be confident in how you express this to new starters and be normal; children and families have had so much change and disruption over recent months, ensure it’s your setting that gives them a chunk of normality back; play, laugh and explore with confidence.

It’s easy to get caught up in ‘guidance’ that comes out, but that’s exactly what it is, ‘guidance.’ You know your children and your setting best, use your common sense, good hygiene and develop a good cleaning system and do what you’d normally do with some minor adjustments, children are adaptable and resilient, so introduce these changes with confidence and they’ll quickly become the norm, thus allowing you all to enjoy, learn and play safely together.

We have provided a video tour of all areas of the setting outlining new procedures, playroom adjustments, toileting areas, cleaning regimes etc. and sent these via WhatsApp. We did this for both families returning after lockdown and now for prospective parents and new starters prior to their settling in sessions commencing. This enables the families to look at the video together and talk about and prepare for a new transition, especially in such different circumstances.

Despite the significant changes to our practice and procedures during this time, we have ensured that we both remain positive, inviting, supportive and understanding to our existing and new children and this has gone a long way in ensuring everyone is comfortable and happy during this transitional period.

Honestly, our settling in visits have gone just as well, if not better than previous settling in sessions and our families are completely on board with our new way of working and organising these transitions and so prepare themselves and the children adequately for these sessions.

We have both commented recently how brilliantly our new starters are settling in to the setting and how quickly they have adapted and adjusted, but we were pleasantly surprised as our children returned post-lockdown at how seamless the transitions were and how confident and resilient the children were, and this is very much the case for our new starters. Some of our children have never been in a setting prior to Covid-19 and so their confidence and resilience and their seamless transition into the setting is absolutely incredible given the circumstances.

We have also ensured we advocate and promote transparency with our current clients too and kept them involved and informed of developing procedures and how we are navigating this during times their children will be present (times of the day when the majority of the children are asleep or not present to avoid children mixing on a larger scale, visits held outdoors etc.) to promote and ensure safety and minimal risks for all involved.

As such we have developed even stronger relationships and open communication with all of our parents/carers which is crucial at a time like this.#

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.