Summer is coming to an end and with it, back to school and saying goodbye to sunny days becomes a central theme. For child care providers, this transition can be both exciting and challenging. It's back to the routine of a new school year. It's a good time to give your child care program that new seasonal feel. Keep in mind to involve parents, children and your staff in this transition, as we'll be seeing traffic on the streets again, parents running around, children being picked up from school and of course homework tutoring. All this after a few months of sunshine, trips to the park, walks and so on, the question is: How do I make the transition back to school?
We have several points for you to take into account taking advantage of the back to school season.
At the daycare?
Fresh Decor: Update the décor in your space to reflect the arrival of the new school year. Consider hanging children's artwork related to back-to-school and fall, relocate supplies and furniture if possible, paint a wall, there are many ways to do this without spending a lot of money.
Change the Theme: Do activities and lessons to align with the back-to-school season. Spend time talking about the children's emotions and expectations for the new year, ask them what they liked most about the summer, what they remember most, among other relevant questions.
New Educational Material: If you have material in storage, it's time to bring it out again and store what you've had for a while. They don't notice and they get excited. Also, if possible, incorporate books and games that stimulate the return to school.
Welcome Meeting: Host a welcome meeting for parents where you share your plans for the new season. What's new for this school year? A new class for the kids? a special event? an application to digitize your daycare? any changes to the contract? new schedules? New staff? Encourage parents to ask questions and share their expectations.
Update Records: Ask parents to update their child's contact information and medical records to ensure you have the most recent and relevant information. Review and make sure everything remains the same, address, phone numbers, email, emergency numbers, etc.
Active Participation: Invite parents to actively participate in your daycare activities, such as story readings or special presentations if they are Doctors, Police, Dentists. Volunteers or by lottery allow them to come to the daycare to read a few stories or a short explanation of their profession, it will only take 20 minutes. This will help foster a collaborative and trusting relationship with them.
With the Children
Special Celebration: Organize a small celebration to welcome the school year for the children. Let them see and feel that it is a new season and there will be changes in the routines of the day or other changes that will be implemented.
Back to School Stories: Read books about back to school and fall to help children prepare emotionally for the change. Encourage conversations about their feelings and expectations.
Active Participation: Involve children in decorating your space with fall themes. This will give them a sense of belonging and excitement for the new season.
With your staff
Planning Meeting: Organize a meeting with your team to discuss plans and goals for the new school year. If there are changes they need to know. There are new regulations in place and they will need to read them. Listen to their ideas and concerns to encourage new solutions, collaboration and teamwork.
Ongoing Training: Offer training and professional development opportunities to your team. This will allow them to stay current and know how to handle situations that arise with children.
Open Communication: Encourage open and effective communication among your team. Encourage collaboration and the exchange of ideas to provide the best care for children. If what they say doesn't resonate with you, just listen to it, think about it alone and then make a decision, it is not necessary to speak up immediately.
With these basics you can create a smooth transition and anticipation in your daycare as you welcome fall and the new school year. May this new season be filled with learning, growth, special moments and gratitude for having the good fortune to work with little souls who brighten your days.
Happy back to school