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Practical tip during the settling in

TRANSITION TO A NEW BONDING PERSON OF ANOTHER CULTURE OR LANGUAGE AT KINDERGARTEN

Tips that can be used when it comes to settle in a new group with focus on having children with different cultural backgrounds at the beginning with one parent present. This practice may not be common in some parts of Europe with the parent present.

The child determines the pace of settling in, not the impatience of the educator, nor the schedule of the parent(s)! 

Go with the flow and adapt: children have their own daily rhythm. For example, a child who is tired will have a harder time adjusting to an unfamiliar environment than one who is well rested. Over time, the children naturally adapt to the rhythm of the kindergarten.

Keep calm:The same applies here for both the professionals as it does for the parents. Children are very sensitive to the mood in their environment, they notice when a parent is worried or afraid. They also feel when their educator is stressed or insecure. Breathe in, stay hydrated, take a break.

Accept the feelings of the children: Do not let a crying child make you nervous. Settling in is a difficult time for the child. Do not expect too much from the child, the parents or yourself. When a child cries, attempt to comfort him or her with cuddles but also recognize if and when the child simply wants to sit or be carried. 

Have a sense of humor - Keep it light: Sometimes it is simply not possible to be master of the situation - for instance, when 4 children are all clinging to your lap at once and want to be hugged, when everyone in the room is crying and screaming. Keep calm and take it step by step - one child after another. Sit on the floor or lie down on the carpet, separate the children into smaller groups. Make room, breathe, make yourself small, ventilate, offer something to eat and drink.

In the beginning - Less is more: Do not plan big activities. Just be there, talk, sing. As long as the child is still engaged in building relationships, there will not be much additional energy or possibility to do anything above and beyond this. Concentrate on building up trust!

Create continuity: Keep a daily structure. Do not offer too much at the beginning. The child should be allowed to go one step at a time. Rituals, rules and rhythm help the child to orient and feel safe.

The room as 3rd educator: A well-designed room is worth gold. Try to create a friendly, inviting, structured and movement-friendly interior design. 

Avoid further burdens: This applies both within the family and in kindergarten. For example, make sure that during the acclimation period, the group rooms should be off-limits to any other strangers. Opening and closing the same door through which the parent(s) left may provoke great sadness in the child. An additional foreign face can be very scary.

Ensure continuity: let parents decide in advance who will accompany the child throughout the ENTIRE acclimation - just one person is ideal.

Take care of balance: settling ins are hard work. Refuel strength in your spare time. Do things that are good for you. Take care of your health. You need your energy.