Starting daycare away from home can be a daunting experience for a young child – and their parent. Anne O’Connor looks at the case of two-year-old Ava and considers how settings can take the tension out of settling in at nursery…
Ava’s first day Ava, who lives with her mother Molly, attends a small local nursery for two and half days a week. As part of the settling-in process, she and her mother had visited the setting several times so that they were able to begin building a relationship with Ava’s appointed key person, Claire. This familiarity meant that Claire could tune in quickly to Ava’s needs on her first day.
Despite being familiar with the setting, Ava was hesitant and uncertain when she arrived on the first day and looked to her mother for reassurance. Claire stayed close by and talked to both of them. She then got down to Ava’s level and talked to her, gently welcoming and encouraging her.
Sensing Ava’s anxiety, Claire continued to talk to her in a soothing way and got her attention. Claire was aware that Ava loved her food, so used the lunch bag to engage her in conversation. Ava became more animated and talked about the food in her bag.
As Molly left, Claire lifted Ava up so she could watch through the window as her mother waved goodbye. Claire encouraged Ava to blow her mother a kiss and reassured her that mother would return. Ava was able to smile happily through the window at Molly.
As Ava’s secure base in the nursery, Claire was available to her throughout the session, remaining sensitive to her needs and motivations. She let Ava take her own time settling in and didn’t make her join in with the group activity. She observed her play, helped her interact with other children and had lots to tell Molly on her return.
Claire reassured Molly that Ava had coped well with the session, which helped the transition for both mother and child, from nursery to home, at the end of the day…
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Article written by Anne O’Connor and published in Nursery World © www.nurseryworld.co.uk