With September nearing, many children are preparing to begin daycare. Stephanie Lueke and Nikki Molnar from Our Place Preschool & Child Care Center shared ways to make adjusting to daycare easier.
Lueke, an early childhood educator assistant, does the after-school program for grades K-7. She said for kids at the preschool level, they need to prepare for things such as toileting, learning manners, and learning how to interact with other kids, parents, and everyone in general.
Grades K-7 kids are already going to elementary, she said, and are already pretty well adjusted to being away from their family.
“It’s not like it’s difficult for them to be away from their parents at all or anything. No, I think by this age (K-7), they’re pretty used to it,” she said.
Molnar, an early childhood educator, is involved with the program for younger kids, aged 2.5 to 4.5. “They’re not sitting down and doing academics all day; we’re learning as we play,” she said. “We like to do a lot of hands-on fun, science experiments that have a reaction and we choose a theme, and we’ll do different arts and things to go along with that.”
Molnar said the key to preparing kids is for parents to be in contact with them. “I guess the best thing you can do is keep in communication with us and kind of let us know,” she said, “because the more of a united front we have between family and childcare the higher chance your child has of success.”
“We definitely always invite the parents to bring them in before they start, so the parents can see what we do,” Lueke said.
“Parents can get comfortable with the teachers first and my kids can see kind of what a regular day is like with the comfort of having their parents, just in case they’re a little shy.”
Molnar said sometimes having your child socialize and spend some time away from parents is a good thing, if you can swing it.
“Some children do well with separation and others really don’t, so it’s all within the comfort level of family and child,” she said.
Lueke said there are all kinds of toys and crafts for the kids to do.
A typical day at daycare can vary. Lueke said summertime is pretty lax, and they sometimes go on field trips to the marsh or park or waterpark, while the school season is a bit more structured.
“So, if someone is planning to attend our session, we of course always allow them to come and take a look at what we do and take a look at our environment and all of that stuff. Absolutely,” Molnar said.