Taking that giant step between nursery and school is one of the most important moments in the young lives of the children we look after.
Getting it right, therefore, is a huge responsibility.
Our nursery environments are designed to be as enriching and supportive as possible, meaning children who attend Tiptoes benefit from unparalleled levels of care and attention.
So when it comes time to move on, we do was much as we can to make sure they are fully prepared for their next big adventure.
Although our pre-schoolers won’t start school until September, preparations for the big moment are already underway across all our nurseries. In fact, we start preparing in April, when children and parents find out which schools they will be going to.
Once they know this, we get in touch with those schools and set up ways of introducing the children to their new teachers.
This might involve a visit to their new school, or an invite to the teachers to come in and meet us.
One thing that has always been important to us is to ensure parents are involved with every step of the process. We invite them in to a special parents evening when we agree what we will tell the school about their child’s development. We go through our transition booklet with parents which, when completed, is sent to the school as a record of progress and achievements, and so they have as much information about the children joining them as we can give.
And to make the whole process more fun, we create a ‘transition bag’ for each child, which includes information about uniforms, a pack-up box, photographs of their school including classroom layout and more.
Of course, as we prepare the children in our care for their first day at school, we are also preparing ourselves for when they leave, which is always a wrench.
It is a process Sarah Smith, manager of our Bricknell Avenue nursery, has been through many times before.
“It can be a sad time of year because you form an attachment with the children,” she said.
“We always hold a leavers assembly when we hand out certificates to the kids for everything they achieved with us, and although that is exciting for them, for us it is bitter sweet. But it happens every year, so you do get used to it.
“The most important thing we can do is ensure they are as ready as possible for the next big step in their young lives – their first day at school. If we have achieved that, then our job is done.”