Starting daycare can be an exciting, but often daunting time for both parents and children. At Willow Tree, we aim to make the transition into our Centre as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Ideally children start transition visits in the two weeks leading up to their start date. This gives our staff the opportunity to get to know your child and understand their routines, behaviour, sleeping and eating requirements. Parents are encouraged to stay with their child in the early visits to settle them in and ensure they cope with short periods of separation, before leaving them for a longer session. The more our teachers can get to know about your child during this time, the easier their transition into Willow Tree will be. Our transition programme ensures that children feel happy and comfortable with their new environment before they begin!
Transition between rooms
Much like settling into daycare, transitions can be a time of excitement but may also trigger stress for our young children. At Willow Tree we have transition plans in place so ensure our Tamariki have effective transitions into the Poutama Room. Feeling happy and secure is critical to the development of confidence and resilience which is why we gradually transition our children into their new environment. Your child’s teacher will keep you well-informed of the transition and how your child is going, so that you can feel confident and supported along with your child. They will also give you a full tour of the new environment, where things are kept and explaining the new routine.
At Willow Tree every child has their own E-portfolios set up on Educa, which can be accessed from your phone, or computer at any time. Educa is a secure web-based portfolio system designed to improve communication and build on the partnership with parents and whanau. Edcua provides an interactive environment where teachers and parents/whanau can share in their child’s learning, through snippets and learning journeys, photos and videos and collaborate on children’s learning. You can make comments, read updates, learning journeys, newsletters, policies, and centre events. You are also able to share this information with other family members that you have given authorised access to.
In addition to E-portfolios, every child at Willow Tree has a hard copy portfolio kept at the centre which we regularly update with your child’s learning goals, learning stories and artwork. We encourage you to look through these folders with your children and take them away with you when your child graduates from the Centre.
Transition to school
At the Willow Tree our aim is to send children to school confident and ready for their next adventure. School readiness is focused on preparation of skills for a lifelong learning journey, this process is not limited to ‘four-year olds’ but also for children in all age groups. Not only do we empower our children with the necessary knowledge, but with the social skills also. We encourage independence in our older children and prepare them for this transition to school with the following focus areas:
- Lunchbox days – once a week our four-year-old children enjoy a packed lunch, so they get used to eating this type of meal and gain the necessary skills to open packets/wrappers independently.
- Early literacy – every afternoon our four-year-old children take part in semi structured time which focuses on reading skills, recognising letters and writing.
- Science and numeracy: your child will be introduced to a range of basic science and mathematical concepts through discovery, play and enjoyment.
- School Connection: We hold close relationships with neighbouring schools and encourage interaction between our children and the neighbouring school children. These interactions assist in bridging the gap for your child’s transition into school.
Health and Safety
Any child who is unwell must be kept at home to prevent the illness spreading throughout the centre. The Centre Manager may at their discretion refuse to accept any child deemed unwell enough to attend the centre. Children with severe coughs, or colds, vomiting, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis rashes or raised temperatures cannot be brought into the centre. If symptoms develop while children are at the centre, we will contact the parent to arrange for the immediate collection of their child.
Please ask the Centre Manager if you would like to know more about our health and safety policies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our Centre enjoys teacher/child ratios well inside the ministry requirements. At a minimum we enjoy a ratio of 1:4 for babies and 1:8 for over twos.