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Starting Nursery

This guide is to give you information on what to expect when your child starts nursery and how you can help.

Starting nursery whether on a part or full time basis is a major change in your child’s life.  This leaflet highlights the key areas and what changes you and your child will experience.  Every effort is made to ensure a smooth settling in process but, we also understand this can be very unsettling for both you and your child who may not have had any significant time apart.

Evidence has shown the more sessions your child has at nursery the quicker the settling process becomes but, in any case we have a policy of a minimum of 3 unaccompanied settling in sessions.  These sessions are organised at different times of the day so that you and your child can experience the different routines.



Don’t pretend it’s not happening. The more you talk about nursery, the easier it will be. Walk past it so your child knows where it is, tell your child what they will be doing there.


Getting used to separation. If your child isn’t used to being apart from you it can take up to 3 weeks for your child to settle depending upon how many sessions your child has.  Children have no concept of time and will not understand that you may only be apart for a short time.  You may feel that tears mean your child is unhappy at nursery but, usually, the opposite is the case. The tears are just for you. Children soon stop crying once you have left the nursery as they become occupied with activities and others around them.  However, do not be surprised if your child cries when they see you again! To help you can prepare the family album you receive in your welcome pack with your child so they can show their friends and refer to it throughout the day at nursery. If you are concerned you can call the nursery to check your child throughout the day.


Sleeping patterns will change when your child starts nursery.  There are specific quiet times for your child to rest which may differ from your home routines. Your child will typically be more active at nursery and so may be tired when they return home.  At your first settling in session we will discuss with you our routines so that you can start at home to working towards these. For babies we will gradually adjust their sleep pattern. To help with sleep at the nursery you can bring something belonging to your child in to help them settle e.g. a comforter that smells of home. Daily your CDS will discuss your child’s sleep pattern.


Dress code. Dress them in comfy clothes and make sure they can pull clothing down or up easily when they go to the toilet. Clothes will inevitably become dirty through your child’s involvement in activities. Please provide spare clothes – we provide bag to put them in and please label everything with the labels we give you!


Eating. Cherry Childcare prides itself in the quality and variety of food provided to children in our care. There are routines around meal times which may differ from what the child has experienced at home.  Every child will be seated at meal times and taught to use cutlery.  The food may differ from home and together with a whole change of lifestyle during the early days at nursery your child may initially eat less. At the settling in sessions we will provide you with full details of our menu for your Childs age group and ensure we understand any allergies or special dietary requirements your child has.


Illness. One of the benefits of nursery care; although I am sure for parents this may not always be seen as a positive; is your child’s immune system is being built as they become exposed to other children and illnesses.  Typically your child will be most prone to illnesses during the first 6 -12 months.  Any illnesses present in your child’s room will be clearly displayed on the parent’s board in your child’s room. In order for you to understand our policies and procedures relating to illnesses we have put together a separate guide for parents.


Behaviour. Your child may experience some anxiety through being separated for the first time.  While your child is settling in you may experience attention seeking behaviour or they may be generally irritable due to tiredness.  If you are potty training you may experience the odd accident which is a result of separation anxiety. At Cherry Childcare we take behaviour very seriously and we have produced a guide for parents to help understand the policies and procedures we use.


Babies Starting Nursery If you are breast feeding your baby it is important for your child to be used to being bottle fed when they start. We can arrange for you to come in and feed your child breast milk or it can be expressed and given in bottle form.


Language/Culture You will notice your child will start to use and become familiar with key words used at the nursery that may differ from words used at home e.g. toilet, tired and hungry. In our multicultural society or if you are on assignment from overseas English may not be your families first language.  At the nursery we do communicate in English but, we can if you wish also use incorporate words provided by yourselves in your families’ native language for key tasks and objects.  As part of the settling in process we will seek to understand your language requirements and any festivals celebrated.


Winding down Give your child time to relax after nursery. When you collect her, she may be tired or grumpy and in need of a nap. Even if not, she — and you — will be grateful for a little post-nursery ‘quiet time’ with a favorite book, toy or DVD.

Our policy is to make the whole settling in process as smooth as possible.  If you have any questions please talk to your child’s nursery manager who will be happy to assist.