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The smell of fresh wellington boots. New names to be added to the self-registration board. Displays waiting for the first paintings to be proudly mounted. It must be a new year at nursery.
But the start of term in the Early Years isn't always the calm beginning to the year it should be.
There are new families to meet, new children to settle in, new permissions to be given, and new allergies and medical conditions to support. There are emergency contacts to list, observations to be made, and fees to manage.
Busy parents, busy staff, and busy managers. So how can you make it easier on everyone?
Easy! Get started now.
Before getting ready for the new term, it's always worthwhile taking time to reflect on the last school year. Consider the 'wow' moments, make a note of what's worked really well, and celebrate the progress you've made. Take the time to show your staff members you appreciate their hard work keeping everything on track and give yourself a pat on the back.
Now you're ready to focus on development and get ready for the new year.
Knowing what success in September looks like means having a clear idea of how you want the year to start. Perhaps you're looking to focus on sustainability, streamline admin tasks, update your curriculums, or improve parent partnerships. For inspiration, you could take a look at what other centers in your area are doing.
Whatever you're looking to achieve, setting clear objectives now means more time to plan the changes you need to make, evaluating the next steps as you go.
Starting a new center (or coming back from a long break) is a big transition for children and their families, which you can help to navigate smoothly. Take the time now to evaluate how you want to ease the transition for new children, as well as welcome children back from the summer break.
A professional, caring, friendly team is a must, but are they able to spend time to really getting to know new families? Forming strong, trusting parent partnerships right from the start is key to children thriving at your setting.
It is important to consider how you could super-charge parent partnerships by giving your staff the support, time, and tools they need.
There's nothing more stressful for a parent dropping off for the new year (or for the first time) than being hounded for information while they're trying to settle their child.
Instead of adding to your parent's kitchen table pile and your paper files, get the data you need digitally. Parents can access information, fill out permissions, emergency contacts, allergies and other important details before term starts through a parent app, meaning you have all the information you need to provide the best care, ready to go.
Just be sure to use specifically designed software that keeps children's data safe.
Having that newly-printed folder of forms was once a start-of-term staple, but think about the time (and trees) you could save by simply having them online.
While cuddling that warm stack of medication forms and accident forms, fresh from the photocopier, is one way to hold onto the summer heat, in reality, it's just more filing for you. Using the right nursery management software means saying goodbye to hours of time-consuming printing and handwriting sheets of paper. Plus, parents get instant updates and can acknowledge forms online.
And the best part? Digital documents can't get crumpled up and lost in the bottom of backpacks.
Being prepared for the beginning of the new school year means that the first day can be used to greet and spend more quality time with children and parents, welcoming them calmly to their new setting.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.