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Childcare to School: Our Top 5 Parental Shocks

Great Early Learning providers support a smooth transition from Childcare to School for children in childcare, but they don’t prepare the parents! The shock of 12 weeks of school holidays combined with the less information from the teachers and changes to routine combined with the realisation your child in growing up comes as a bit of a shock. If you have a child about to start school next year. Here is the top 5 things you need to know!

1. School Holidays

Most working parents in salaried roles will only get four weeks off per year. School holidays are around 12 weeks. So that’s a four week gap! It is a bit of a shock coming from a long daycare where you may have had your child in care over the holidays. School may spell the end of shared holidays with your partner for the next 12 years or alternatively just start your own business. Joking on that one!  You take on the role of Chief Negotiator. There’s the negotiation between the parents, about who is in a position to take leave, and for what part of the holiday. There is the negotiation with your employer and colleagues as to who is taking what holidays to manage demand. Then there is the negotiation/begging with family or friends.  After the negotiating phase is complete then you need to find a holiday program you can afford and your child wants to go to. Then you have to organise drop-offs and pick-ups, as well as different working hours during school holidays, to fit in with the vacation care programs. Times have changed my friend! No 6:00am to 6:00pm anymore. It reminds you what an amazing job your childcare providers did.

2. Changing routines

Depending on what facilities the school you have vacation care and after school care may be a luxury. There is a school in the city I live in that once a year offers 36 places in after school care. Parents camp out overnight to get a place. My sons school has no before school care and the earliest time to him off is 8:20am. That has meant a major routine change negotiated with both my husband’s and my employer. My husband starts early and finishes early. How do single parents do it? With great difficulty, I imagine. Click here for our Mum’s Kirsty’s blog on the School Holiday Shuffle

3. Communication changes

You may have been in a centre where you are emailed photographs and updates of your child throughout the day or you had a book or a board to read on pick up time find out what they did in their day. You probably had a chat to the educator to find out how they went and to find out any extra information. School is different and it can feel like you have entered the black hole of information. Teachers are generally kept at arms length and in many schools you need to book an appointment to have a chat.


4. Formal Learning

Depending on the school, your child may go from play-based learning straight to sitting at a desk all day. Homework and site words may be the order of the day. Your Childcare service can assist you in considering factors such as the school philosophy, location, cost, facilities and resources, religious orientation in order to choose a school which supports, nurtures and develops your child.


5. Your Baby is Growing Up

This is a biggest shock, even if you have been given a few hints like some major displays of independence and the self awareness that they are not the ‘baby’ anymore and want to be grown up and do grown up things, is starting school. Many parents feel heading to school is a big transition, for both the child and the themselves. There may be a few tears when you see the first 5 years disappear in what seems like a flash, but it is a beautiful beginning of a life long learning journey.

About Rebecca

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Hi I'm Bec and this is my my blog Daycare Decisions. I am a mum of 2, passionate about early education, nature play and a parents' transition back to the workforce after having a baby.

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