Transition is a journey and a process, which happens gradually, not just a one-off moment.

-Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years

Settling in is important!

Starting nursery is a big step for most children. That’s why we think settling in is really important. The time you spend helping your child to settle in will really benefit them in the long run- it will mean your child will be happier, more confident, learn better and enjoy nursery more.

We want all children to have a positive experience of starting school so we start children slowly so they can get lots of support and attention. Different children will settle at different rates. The minimum time you spend is likely to be 3 sessions. Some children it will be less. For some children it will be a lot more. Your child’s Key Person will work with you to determine how much time will be needed.

At the home visit, we will ask you questions about your child’s development. This information will help us to settle your child in and to help us make sure your child’s needs are met at Nursery. 

There are 2 things we look for to determine if a child is settled:

  1. Your child is feeling confident to play in the nursery
  2. You child is talking and playing with their key person.

We really need your help during settling in because you know your child better than anyone. Please talk to your child’s key person about how you think things are going.

Here are some of the ways you can help

If your child has spent time away from you (e.g. with other members of the family, in a nursery, with a childminder, with a friend) – tell us how your child got on. Did she or he find anything difficult? What helped to comfort your child?

Even if your child has already been to another nursery or been with a childminder, you will still need to help with settling in –the adults here and the routines of the day will still be new and strange.

During settling-in, please try to be “available” to your child. Let them come back to you when they want to. Make sure your child knows where you are, and can come back to you easily.

Don’t put any pressure on them to move away from you. But try not to be too interesting – it’s helpful if you sit back a bit and let your key person play with your child. It will be for you and your key person to decide together when your child is ready to have a little bit of time in nursery without you.

Please make sure that your child knows you are leaving – if you “slip away” when your child is busy, then your child may look round, expect to see you, and be really upset that you are not there.

Settling in goes well for most children, and they soon start to enjoy nursery. But if your child gets upset or sad, don’t worry. All of us can feel sad when we are parted from someone we love. What matters is that your child can be comforted by their key person and helped to settle. Try to be as confident as possible that your child will be OK. If your child sees that you are upset or anxious, then they will get upset too.

If your child can’t be comforted by your key person, then we will ask you to come straight back in. We do not want your child to have a bad experience and get really upset in nursery.

The role of the Key Person and Settling in Strategy