Let’s Start at the Very Beginning by Emma Prothero
Recently, you may have noticed some new faces at Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten. At this time of year we welcome many new members into our WOK family. Starting nursery can be an exciting but daunting experience. In this most recent blog entry I aim to describe how the team at WOK do their best to welcome new members in order to make them feel happy and comfortable. I will also address how the introduction of new children can be beneficial for our more experienced nursery members.
Imagine it’s your first day at a new job. You don’t know your way around the office, you haven’t met your colleagues and you’re not even sure what time you will clock off. This might give you some insight into how it feels for your child on their first day of kindergarten. Starting nursery is often the first major transition that a young child will experience and thus it is important that practitioners and parents work together to make this transition feel as safe and exciting as possible. Research suggests that in partnership childcare, a good and communicative relationship between parent and practitioner is incredibly beneficial for a child’s well-being and feelings of consistency and security.
At Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten, we have an open door policy which allows parents to visit their children in the woods at any time. This prevents children from seeing their home environment and their nursery environment as completely separate and thus eases their transition. In addition to this, staff make a concerted effort to maintain strong and informative relationships with parents and carers; providing catch up and feedback sessions at both the beginning and end of each day. If you ever have a question or concern about your child’s care, please do not hesitate to approach one of us!
There is a multitude of evidence to suggest that educational environment has a significant influence on a child’s sense of security and well -being when they begin nursery. According to the organisation Early Years Matters “Rich environments have an immediate effect on the quality of a child’s learning and development.” At Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens we ensure that both are indoor and outdoor environments are as stimulating and welcoming as possible. In our indoor environment we have a story corner with large cushions. This creates a calming an separate space that new children can access if they are feeling tired or overwhelmed when they first begin. Similarly, when at the park ,staff erect a tarpaulin and a hammock, again ensuring there is a slightly quieter and separate environment for children to access.
I will now move on to address how the introduction of new children to Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten can be beneficial for our older members. Education Academic Kevin Zoromiski from Michigan University suggests that giving children a sense of responsibility can improve their self confidence and autonomy. Zoromiski claims “role-modeling appropriate actions and interactions with others” is an effective way to give young children responsibility. When new children start at nursery, we encourage our older children to act as role models, providing their peers with guidance and support. I am proud to say that our older WOK Warriors always set a fantastic example and help staff to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere!
That’s it for this time! I am very excited about all our recent new starters and look forward to seeing them thrive during their WOK journey.
Links and Further Reading
- Academic Journal Article ( Provides a good definition and overview of partnership care) : Powell, D. R. (1998). Reweaving parents into early-childhood education programs. The Education Digest, 64(3), 22.