I could say sending your baby to childcare for the first time is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
But that would be a big fat lie… AND very 90s of me. Because for most of us, bidding adieu to your tiny “precious” for the first time can be a scary and stressful experience.
But from someone who has been through it twice, it’s waaaaay worse for you than it is for them. If that gives you any comfort?!
There are so many questions and random shower thoughts that boggle every parents’ mind before sending your child to childcare, so we enlisted the help of the lovely, kind angels at Goodstart Early Learning to answer all your juicy, nothing-off-limit questions!
Welcome, Goodstart Ingle Farm’s Centre Director, Kate Trepic!
With eleven years of childcare work under her belt and a Diploma of Children’s Services, it’s fair to say her CV is next-level! Kate is all about building a strong foundation of learning from the start. “I’m a mum to two little darlings and I believe that children learn the most by exploring their world through play.”
So let’s pick her brain!
Questions from the Adelady Mum Squad….
Q: Will you follow the same routine as we follow at home?
A: At Goodstart forming a close partnership with our families is important to us. We recognise and respect that the transition into the early learning environment is big step for our little people and to support them in having a successful start in our centres we aim to understand and follow your routines from home as closely as we can. Our Educators will communicate openly with families about each individual child’s daily routine, to ensure families are informed and up to date with how their child’s day is progressing.
Q: What age can my child start?
A: Your child can start with us anytime between 6 weeks of age, until they go off to school. We cater for all ages and ensure an appropriate learning environment is available for them by placing them in a developmentally appropriate room.
Q: I’m still breastfeeding – can I give you my breast milk to feed my baby?
A: Of course! We will store any bottles given to us in a fridge, and will warm them as needed. Alternatively, we provide quiet spaces for mothers to comfortably breastfeed if they prefer.
Q: Does my child keep crying when I leave? How do you handle it?
A: Every child is different, and settles into the early learning environment differently. Our flexible orientation process ensures children and families have the opportunity to take their time in forming relationships with our educators to ensure children feel safe, secure and supported when commencing care. We understand that sometimes it can be difficult to say goodbye and our educators always acknowledge a child’s feelings during these moments. Our educators ensure they are present and available to comfort them. If a difficult goodbye has occurred educators will always call or message families to let them know how their child has settled.
Q: Do the carers hug and kiss our children on the cheeks?
A: Our educators will follow the needs of the child. This means they may cuddle them, pick them up or comfort them in times of need with permission from the child. However, educators do not kiss children.
Q: Do you smack my kids if they’re being naughty? How do you deal with children who misbehave?
A: No, our educators will never smack, hit or hurt children when they exhibit challenging behaviours. Instead, children are involved in creating behaviour expectations and guidelines. Educators have one on one discussions with children to support them to regulate their emotions. If certain unsafe behaviour persists, we work with parents to develop an individual approach to support the child’s behaviour, always ensuring that a child’s rights are respected.
Q: Do they learn about all cultures?
A: Most definitely! All cultures are explored and celebrated at Goodstart Early Learning. Our curriculum plans take into account children’s interests and include culturally diverse learning experiences each week. Children are encouraged to share their own culture with peers and educators, and parents and families are always welcome to help us learn more about their culture.
Q: Do you teach children about bullying?
A: Our curriculum has a strong focus on emotional wellbeing. We explore different emotions and coach children about how to recognise and work through their feelings. We keep children involved in the conflict resolution process and teach them the importance of seeking help from a trusted adult in times of need. As children become social explorers, educators are present to support relationships and set examples for them to follow. We also teach children about how to respond to unkind behaviour and how it is important to seek help from a trusted adult at these times. This ensures children feel safe to approach educators about any situation, and allows educators to support children with any unkind behaviour that occurs.
Q: What sorts of activities do the children do?
A: Our curriculum strongly supports play based learning and exploration. Educators plan for learning that is developmentally appropriate for children. We explore a range of child led activities which follow individual and group interests. We also plan each week to extend and challenge children. On a typical day, children have access to dramatic and imaginary play, sensory play, technological exploration, gross motor activities, literacy and numeracy development, social and emotional learning, art, dance and music as well as rest and relaxation time. Many parents often comment about how much growth and learning occurs when their child starts to attend our early learning centres.
Q: Is the food healthy and nutritious? Or do I need to bring my own food? What if my child has an allergy?
A: Each centre has a qualified cook to create healthy, nutritious, and diverse meals. We provide breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and a late snack. We always plan and display our weekly menu in the centre and share it with families.
If you wish, we are happy to accommodate children or families who prefer to bring in their own food, but this completely optional.
If your child has a dietary requirement, whether this be an allergy, intolerance, religious, or cultural reason, our cook will cater to your specific needs. Our educators and cooks are trained and experienced in ensuring each child is provided with the correct food at meal times.
Q: What happens if someone comes to pick up my kid but it’s not me?
A: At Goodstart Early Learning we never let children leave the centre with anyone not known to educators or is approved for pick up by your family. If for some reason another person needs to pick up your child, we will ensure we have your permission first, and if we have not met the person before pick up, we will ask for proof of identity upon arrival.
Q: Do I get to skip the que if my older child already goes to the centre?
A: We will always try to keep families together and will give first priority to our existing Goodstart families.