For young children this may be the first time they are apart from their family, their primary caregivers, and this can be an extremely stressful time for the child. Alternatively, some children will be moving from one room to another and while they have been attending the service, they are still transitioning from the safety of their room and relationships with significant educators and this can also create anxiety for the child. Either way, we as Educators need to support the child in their transition to the service
or new room.
The need for orientation visits will vary for each child depending on their age, their needs and current experience with THRIVE. For children new to the service a minimum of 3 x 45min orientation visits are required, with their parent /guardian present, at various times of the day. This enables the child to experience indoor and outdoor play, a mealtime, group experiences and rest time environment. The aim of these visits is for the child to start to build relationships with the educators and trust in the new environment. It is also when educators need to gather valuable information from the family about their child’s routine, sleep and nutritional needs, comfort strategies and any other needs to support
For those moving to another room orientations can occur internally with the child visiting the room for 15-30mins at a time over the course of a few weeks. These visits are to be shared with families verbally or via email.
Separation anxiety is very real and can cause the child extreme distress for at least 4 or more weeks. While Orientation Visits will not “fix” separation anxiety, by creating relationships, consistent routines, sharing strategies with the family and building familiarity with the educators and environment, this may in fact alleviate it.