Starting Early Childhood Education - Choosing a Provider, Separation & Transition

Starting Early Childhood Education

  • When to start thinking about ECE providers: It’s helpful to start thinking about ECE early, so you can consider the type of early childhood education option that is best for your child, as well as getting your child on waiting lists. There are lots of different options for early childhood education, so it’s important to consider all of them and think about what will suit your child best. You can do this by visiting the centres you’re considering to get a sense of how the centre works. Talking to parents in your area will also give you some ideas about the options available to you.

  • How do I help my child get used to the new environment of daycare and deal with separation anxiety? Separation anxiety is a normal process that occurs when babies start to understand that things are permanent. It can come in waves and be more obvious when something changes in their world, like starting daycare or ECE. Allowing your child time to settle into daycare with you there before you leave may help. If possible, leave him for short periods of time to begin with and slowly leave for longer periods of time. Talk with the daycare teachers about your child’s routines and how they can support your child‘s move to daycare.

  • Is it better to stay at home with my child or send them to ECE or daycare? A baby's brain is amazing - as their parent you are your child's first and most important teacher and you help their brain grow at home through play. Daycare builds on the great learning opportunities that you provide at home and early childhood education helps to build social skills in your child such as sharing, communication, lots of different life skills and helps your child understand and make sense of the world around them. There are benefits to both approaches; whether your child stays at home with you or goes to ECE or daycare depends on what works for you and your situation.

  • What is the recommended age for kids to start ECE or daycare? There is no recommended age to start ECE or daycare – it depends on your situation and preferences.  If you are looking at introducing your child to ECE or daycare, it is suggested to wait until your child is over 6 months, to give your child’s immune system enough time to develop so it can manage exposure to illness. Different centres have different policies around their starting age so if you’re considering ECE or daycare for your child, try to visit a variety of ECE options, from home care to day care, to see what might fit with your expectations and needs.

If you would like more support with early childhood education, give PlunketLine a call on 0800 933 922 – it’s free and available 24/7.

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