This year the Nursery team once again undertook the task of visiting the homes of the children joining the class. For some of these children it was the first time meeting the teachers that they will be spending their days with and for those returning, it was a chance to reconnect and see how they had grown over the break.
As a Nursery teacher I love getting to visit the children in their own home, the place where they feel the most comfortable. It allows us to see what they are really like – as whilst they all begin shy, they soon want to show us their toys and their family. We use this chance to not only create a bond with the child, but to see what they are interested in, which allows us to plan our classroom provision based on their interests. Having seen that many of the children were interested in cars and other vehicles, we changed our classroom to include more of these.
Having a familiar face is a big part of how we help children settle in Nursery. As the term progresses, we have Key Group time, where the same adult and group of children meet each day to discuss what they have learned in school or at home. It is also important that children have someone they know and recognise as they first come through the gate. There were many children who clung to the teachers who visited their home at first as they felt safe and secure with the person they knew. This helped us with settling the children and getting them to feel secure exploring their classroom.
Creating the bond between parents and school is also key, as for many parents it is the first time their child has been away from them. Not only do we get an opportunity to ask questions we might need to know the answer to, but it gives the parents a chance to ask us everything they would like to find out. I also hope that parents will feel more secure in leaving their child with us once they have had a chance to get to know us better too.
When we visit the homes we go as a pair, one expat teacher and one assistant teacher. This way we can converse in either English or Mandarin, depending on which language parents and the children feel the most comfortable with. We are also lucky to have Ms Kang who can speak Korean, so that we can offer three different languages for our home visits. This way we can ensure that all the important information is shared effectively and will help our parents and children feel confident for their first day of school.