It’s the beginning of the academic year in Malaysia and we’re busy settling in lots of new children. Here the new school year starts in January which I am loving. I’m already excited about all the things I have planned for 2020 and starting a new school year at the same time great for setting new goals.
This year our 3-6 years class is operating at full capacity. We have 22 children (with 3 teachers) and that’s the most I’ll enrol for now. we are lucky to have lots of incredibly cute 3 year olds joining us this year. I’m glad to report that most of our new children didn’t shed any tears (except for one child on his first day). As they enter their second week of school, the children are happy and confident in the classroom showing their individual personalities.
So how do we manage the start of school year with lots of new children but no crying? Well I have a special system that I use…
The most important thing for us is that the child feels safe and secure. The bond between the child and parents is so important. We don’t want the child to pick up any wrong signals or messages when their parents leave. I never agree to parents disappearing, suddenly leaving their child without knowing. This can be traumatic. Instead we have chairs set up just outside the classroom, where the parent and child can see each other. We encourage parents to stay until their child is ready for them leave, and when they do, only leave for a short time and return.
It’s essential that each child gets individual one to one time with the teacher to bond. This is important for both the child and teacher. To facilitate this we provide each child with their own induction times, where they attend the class with no other new children. The induction times are staggered so only one new child comes each hour. The existing children will work as normal and the teacher can fully focus on the new child for an hour or so. This one to one time really helps create a bond between the child and adults and is crucial for creating trust between family and school.
The 3 hour work cycle is too long for a new child during their first week. They can become exhausted and overwhelmed. We provide a short work period for the new children starting with just one hour. Then gradually increase the time over 1-2 weeks until they are able to manage the full session.
The above steps really help the new children settle in and ensure they form positive secure bonds with the teachers and other students. Our aim is for the child to feel comfortable and connected. Without this, it’s impossible for the child to show their full personalities and interests.
What do you do to help children settle in?