Even the most confident of children may have had their foundations shaken by the changes brought on by COVID-19.
In a survey commissioned by G8 Education and conducted by YouGov, we found that only 6% of children were able to remain at their education and care centre this year, with 85% parents of children aged 0-5 feeling their child’s learning has been disrupted.
More than four in ten Australian parents with a child aged 0-5 years say their children have been more anxious since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with social skills and maturity affected, along with language skills and number skills.
However, in centres, we’ve found the very opposite.
Here are six ways we’ve helped, and continue to help, your child feel safe and settled at our centres.
1. A welcoming orientation procedure
You might be wondering if the orientation sessions allowing your child to get to know their centre and educators are still available. The great news is that our Stay and Play sessions are still available to you and your children in the majority of our locations. You are welcome to come and join us!
There are also many other ways our team can support your child before their first day. We can organise Zoom orientation sessions and send you photos and videos of the centre to show your child. You can also find a virtual tour of our centre on our website. Together we can make sure your child is familiar and comfortable with our centre before they start.
2. A flexible routine
Research shows children who have flexible daily routines tend to be emotionally heathier and better socially adjusted. We believe in the importance of flexible routines to support children to feel safe and secure.
3. A focus on relationship building
When children were able to return to our centres, our team of caring educators focused all their energy on connecting with them and giving them the emotional support they needed as they transitioned back into the centres. Children reconnected with their friends and quickly adjusted to being back in their centre environment.
We know by age three, a child’s brain has developed to 80 per cent of its adult size. We also know the interactions, relationships and experiences stimulate their brain connections. Our educators support children in understanding, labelling and self-regulating their emotions; they also encourage friendships, setting children up for success as learners now and into the future.
This relationship building took precedence over everything else and supported our team to form deep connections with the children and their families; and this focus will continue.
4. Regular communication with parents
With COVID-19 limiting face-to-face communication, our educators regularly stayed in touch with parents via our parent communication app, Xplor Home.
This enabled us to keep in touch and let you know about any updates in centre.
While children are attending our centre, parents are able to view their child’s learning. Our team members add all the beautiful photos and videos captured throughout the day on the Snapshot function with more in-depth observations and information featured on Xplor Home.
It’s been wonderful to notice how we’ve been able to maintain our deep connection between home life and centre life!
5. Yoga, mindfulness and more
Many of our centre teams offer yoga and mindfulness sessions to support children to life their self-esteem and increase their wellbeing.
We also use wonderful resources such as ParentTV to keep ourselves, and parents, up to date with the latest research about how to ease children’s anxiety and support them as they transition back to centre life.
6. Engaging play-based learning activities
We’ve always believed in the importance of children to exploring their ideas and interests as they learn through play. In our Australian Early Years Learning Framework, play-based learning is defined as “a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations”.
Our centres provide stimulating environments with high quality learning resources and so children can actively participate in learning through play, guided by qualified educators.
If there’s anything we can do to facilitate the transition and support your child settle in, please let us know – or find out more about enrolling here.