Settling In: A Perspective
Our Business and Finance Officer, Maria, felt compelled to provided her thoughts after reading our blog post on Settling In at nursery. We think it's great to get different people's perspectives so we can see how every child's experience is different and unique.
So I come from things from a bit of a different view point.
My son started Rebecca Cheetham in 2008. I had originally enrolled him as I was working elsewhere so needed childcare but also to help him develop his speech.
He took a VERY long time to settle in. I still remember him crying from the minute we got to the nursery (or even just approaching it sometimes!). My heart used to wrench each and every day and I had so many doubts about whether to keep him at nursery or wait till he’s older. Being my only child, I was very anxious about him settling. I only ever saw the tears in those early days but when I’d go back to collect him, staff would say that after a while he’d settle. The time that took slowly reduced day after day, week after week. Looking back I think I expected too much too soon but what I failed to bear in mind was that each and every child is unique. What I found though is that they matched the settling in process to his individual needs. By this I mean that at the beginning they would shorten the days so that it was not too overwhelming for him or they would ask me to stay close by so that I could collect him if he became too distressed (such the opposite of some of the children I see who are happy to wander off as soon as they arrive!)
Something that I also didn’t expect was that he'd get sick frequently in those early days of nursery. After the absences, settling in became a drama all over again! It was so easy to throw in the towel but perseverance definitely paid off. Being exposed to a nursery setting has built up my son's immune system (something that I hear many parents repeat time and time again).
I can honestly say that the staff at Rebecca Cheetham were truly amazing with him (and me!) and offered him that time and attention he needed to settle into new surroundings. What I find even more astonishing, is that I still work with so many of them now! I therefore completely trust their knowledge and experience in these matters. They are not afraid to call on the occasions that your child cannot be consoled and they are happy to give that much needed feedback (which really puts your mind at rest in those early days!) They will even show photos and videos of how they've been during the day.
I feel that Rebecca Cheetham is not just for the child but for the family too. Without you realising the significance, the staff automatically do so many things to make your child feel comfortable and treasured. For example, class teachers may ask for family photos to display or may ask parents to record a message for their child in times where English may not be their first language. All this ensures a child feels welcome, secure and confident at nursery through those most precious early years. The parents too are made to feel involved in all aspects of their child’s development and we are there for you just as much as your child.
Starting out at the front reception I got to see children (and their parents!) at their most vulnerable, as they enter an unfamiliar setting with so many different faces. Now that I understand the settling in process that takes place, I understand the reasons behind its importance. I was in your shoes once upon a time and I think if you ask any of the staff, they all remember how my son really struggled to settle at first!
I have never worked in a place like Rebecca Cheetham before. There is such a warm and friendly atmosphere, from the days that I was here as a parent to being a staff member. A testimony to this is the fact that so many of us staff have had our children come through Rebecca Cheetham and will never hesitate to recommend us to family and friends.
Daily I reassure parents that everything will be fine with their children as I know from experience that this will be the case. Highlights for me are when I see children that were unsettled at the beginning come running into the nursery without a backward glance (with a reminder sometimes from us to say bye to mum or dad!) To see them develop and grow into confident little people is truly an honour, one that makes me smile each and every day 😊
Business and Finance Officer