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Colin Sure Start, Belfast

Starting something NEW - TRANSITIONS

31st Aug 2021
September is always a big month for young children in the early years. Many children who have been with us a long time will be starting Nursery, and our new groups begin the process of settling-in to our four settings for children aged 2-3. This year over the academic year we will have 122 children taking these new steps as part of our Developmental Programme for 2-3s, Play2Learn and Little Rainbows programmes. This can be an exciting time of new experiences, making new friendships, exploring and discovering, developing senses and play of many different kinds. But it can also be a challenging time for both parents and children. For many children, particularly after the past 18 months of Covid lockdown and disruption, this is their first experience of being separated from parents or family; it requires confidence, independence and self-belief on the part of your child, and these are skills and qualities that most 2-3 year olds are still developing. Not only that, being in a group of children their own age requires new skills too. Finding ways of communicating, sharing, understanding and taking turns is not easy at this at this age and takes time. The great news is that this is just what these programmes are about – supporting your child and giving them the opportunity to develop these skills. Don’t lose heart if your child takes time with this process – each child is unique and different and will get there in their own time with the right support. Here are a couple things to remember during this transition: >> Be patient! Remember this is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight >> Be supportive – staying positive and highlight what your child IS able to do, not what they CAN’T do >> Be consistent – once your child is ready to stay in the programme on their own, having a consistent way of saying goodbye and leaving, even if they fuss is important for them >> Be Happy to see them – showing your child that you are happy to see them when you collect them again with your words, face and gestures will give them confidence that you will always come back >> Participate in the programme - this is really important for your child - to see that you take an active interest. There will be lots of opportunities for parents and carers to get involved in activities and projects at home that support what your child is doing in the setting.