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Colin Sure Start, Belfast

Starting something new!

21st Jul 2022

A New Adventure! Starting the Developmental Programme for 2-3 Year Olds, Play2Learn Programmes and Little Rainbows groups

September is always a big month as our new groups begin the process of settling-in the new groups of children into our various settings. This year, we will have 110 children taking these new steps between our Programme for 2-3s, Play2Learn afternoon programmes and Little Rainbows groups over the academic year. This can be an exciting time of new experiences, making new friendships, exploring senses and play of many different kinds.

But it can also be a challenging time for both parents and children. For many children, 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!

The open days and parent engagement, or 'stay & play' sessions throughout the programmes are a really important part of the groups too. They are an important way for children to see your connection and involvement, and participation in these is really important to your child.

Our staff are on hand to support families, parents and carers as well as children through this process, and we also have key workers in each programme who can help at any stage of the year but particularly with these transition times. If at any stage you are feeling worried or anxious about the separation process - remember, its ok, every parent experiences this at some stage! Give us a call and find out about the supports we can offer.