Establishing a sense of belonging

Making the choice to start your child in childcare is a huge decision. Both you and your child need to be emotionally ready to make this transition.

Studies show that early childhood participation can lead to positive social and academic skills, which set children up for a lifetime of learning.



Getting to know your child’s primary caregiver will help you to feel more at ease about leaving your child with them. Having an allocated primary caregiver can further assist the settling process as children have the opportunity to form a close relationship with one staff member.

During your visits to the centre (prior to starting), it’s good to be calm and try not to engage in play, so your child wants to move away from you and explore their new surroundings. Be there emotionally for your child. They may need some encouragement and reassurance, as they too will be feeling anxious and unsure about the change that is about to occur in their life.

Your child’s primary caregiver will spend as much time with you and your child as possible to begin to form a relationship based on trust and respect.

After your child has started to develop a relationship with their primary caregiver, we will introduce a secondary caregiver to support your child when their primary caregiver is unavailable.


Tips for Settling

  • Bring along any comfort items your child may have such as a cuddly, blanket or pacifier
  • On arrival talk to your child about different activities available to them and encourage them to become involved
  • Share information with the primary caregiver or teacher about your child’s interests, family members and routines and rituals that the teacher can talk to your child about once you have gone
  • Always say goodbye. Sneaking out can cause your child to build anxiety around transitions and result in a far longer settling process
  • Once you have said goodbye it is important to leave. Although your child may become upset it is important that they build up a trusting relationship with the primary caregiver and begin to understand that once you say goodbye, you will always come back to pick them up again at the end of the session
  • Try to remain positive with your child even if they become upset as they will pick up on the cues that are receiving. Reassure them that this is a safe, friendly place that you are excited they have a chance to explore


What may happen when you leave:

All children are different and will transition in different ways. Your child may slot right in to the centre, make friends, participate in routines, and show no signs of issues in settling.

Or on the first few sessions alone, your child is fine, seeming to have settled well into care, then become unsettled! What is going on? They were fine last week…    

What could be happening is that your child has just realised that you’re really gone and the novelty of coming to this new place has worn off. Don’t be alarmed if this happens; it is a perfectly normal part of transitioning.

Another form of transition that can happen could be your child not settling, even once you have gone. They seem to cry and beg you not to go. As terrible as this is for all parents, once you have made the decision to leave, you must leave.

Prolonging the process or returning when they are upset is only going to make things worse, as this confuses your child.

After your child has attended a couple of sessions, they will begin to understand that you will come back for them, and it actually starts to become fun to be at Star.

Once your child gains a sense of belonging, they will start exploring their surroundings, and begin to engage in social activity and develop a passion for knowledge that sets them up for a lifetime of learning.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to speak with your child’s Primary Caregiver about these.


Star’s settling guidelines

(as stated in our policy)

We ask that you follow these guidelines when planning this transition. As all children are different, this process could take from anywhere between two weeks to four or more, so it helps if you can be flexible.

We require:
Step 1: An initial visit
Step 2: Two 30-60 minute visits with parent or guardian
Step 3: Two one hour sessions on their own for part time children and for full time children we require you to work up to half a day over four visits. We will call you if they are still distressed after no more than twenty minutes and you will need to return.

Following these visits, your child’s primary caregiver will work in partnership with you, discussing possible ‘next steps’. It is vital that during visits your child has begun to build a relationship with their primary caregiver, and has had sufficient opportunities to become familiar within their new environment. These opportunities develop the child’s sense of belonging, which is essential for a smooth, and positive transition. If your child has been unable to settle, we may ask that you continue with step 3 – possibly adapting slightly to meet your child’s individual needs. We believe in child readiness, respecting their voice in things that affect them – such as transition. 

When your child’s primary caregiver agrees that your child has settled well, we will start their booked sessions in consultation with Melissa.

For more information, please contact us.

If you are interested, send us an enquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!