Your guide to the Star Room (0-2 years)
We are very excited to get to know new children and their families. Over the first couple of months we will be focusing on getting to know your children and assisting them to settle in. Please expect some tears but the smiles and laughter will soon emerge!
Staffing and ratios
The star room has a minimum of 3 staff members on the floor each day and a maximum of 4. An Early Childhood teacher/Room supervisor (this role is currently a shared position) a diploma trained position and two certificate 111 positions. The ratio within the Star Room is one educator to four children. We are always within ratios at all times of the day.
The settling process in the Star Room is extremely important and can at times be a little stressful for children and parents! The staff will provide comfort for each child and build secure attachments with the children. When children first begin at day care tears are very common. The settling process for each child is different, some children settle straight away and some children take a lot longer. We just need to be patient and let your child settle in their own time. Once they feel comfortable in the environment and they have developed relationships with educators, the smiles will come! Maybe you might like to consider bringing your child for shorter or half days when they first start. The Centre will arrange orientation days before your beginning date to give your child the opportunity to visit the centre and stay for a short play. Parents must be aware that they must always stay with their child during orientation day.
Your morning routine with your child is extremely important. A consistent routine will set your child up for a positive day ahead. Young children feel safe with routine and consistency. You may like to include your child in the routine of making up their cot, putting their bag away and putting their water bottle into the container. It is important to have the same routine every morning so your child knows what to expect. Talk to your child about who they will see in the Star Room and what a great day they will have. Always tell them you will come back and always say goodbye to your child. The separation should be short and positive.
The Star Room has a routine for both the summer and winter period although we will implement an individual routine for the children within our care until they are old enough to follow the room routine. It is important to keep staff updated about your child’s routine so that we are able to tend to your child’s needs as best we can. If there are any changes please inform staff. Winter and Summer routines are attached. We will need as much information about your child’s routine such as sleep times, bottle times, comforters and food requirements and staff will update this as your child’s needs change.
In the Star room we provide meals according to the developmental level and needs of your child. We do provide puree food for babies and once they are old enough centre meals can be provided. Our menu is displayed on the wall in the room and written on the daily information chart. Please keep in mind when your child is beginning solids or trying new foods it is important that they try them at home first just to make sure there aren’t any food allergies. It is extremely important that you constantly keep staff informed as to what consistency of food your child eats and what types of foods they have tried at home. An email or written permission is the best way to inform staff so that the message may be passed on to staff and the chef.
Please provide formula for your child, we provide cows milk and all other meals. Let staff know of any food allergies.
The Star Room has 4 cot rooms and each room has only 3 cots. The cot rooms are to ensure that children’s sleeping times are less interrupted and a quieter and peaceful place for resting. Your child will be allocated a cot for the time he/she attends. Please put your child’s sheets and a water proof mattress protector on the cot in the morning as a part of your routine (remember that the plastic side is to face up for hygiene reasons) Staff will make sure that young children go to sleep on their backs and that there are no loose items or sheets in the cot. Please ensure you tuck the sheets in at the end of the cot and no large loose items (including pillows and large toys) are in the cot (sleeping safety posters are displayed in the cot rooms) We also have low lying beds for older children (from 18months old only) that we use in a sectioned area of the play area. When you would like to transition your child to a bed please speak to staff for advice. Each child will be allocated their own cot for the year which will have their name on the wall next to the cot.
If your child is on a low bed you may keep their sheets in your child’s locker. All sheets must go home at the end of the week to be washed.
If your child soils, dirties or wets their clothes, they will be put into the “Dirty clothes box” which is a plastic box located on the bench inside the nappy room. We will place a “Please pick up dirty clothes tag” on your child’s bag to let you know if you need to collect any dirty clothes. Please ask staff if you are unsure. Please place a wet bag or similar in your child’s bag for us to put soiled, wet or dirty clothes into.
Each year the staff will develop short term and long term goals for the room and for the children. The goals will be based on settling the children, developing their autonomy and independence and developing the children’s identity and sense of belonging. Each year the room goals may be different depending on the needs of the children. These goals will be displayed in the Star Room and your feedback regarding the room goals is valuable to us.
The Star Room program is an interest and needs based program which also includes intentional teaching. The program caters to all children and their individual needs. The program will be based on what the children’s interests are as this is the most effective way that children learn. The staff will send home a weekly reflection to all families so that you are aware of the learning that is taking place. This will be done through Story Park. Each child will receive individual observations at least once per month which will be the basis for the program. Through observations we are able to capture the developmental level of your child, their interests and their individual needs. Each child has a focus educator who is responsible for recording their observations. If you have any questions regarding the program or your child’s portfolio please don’t hesitate to speak to staff. Developmental summaries will also be written yearly.
We aim to teach children socially acceptable behaviour through positive guidance, re-direction and reinforcement. Staff will be consistent in setting clear guidelines on what is appropriate behaviour. Children need to be given guidance and support to be able to learn how to respond appropriately to feelings and emotions and children can develop these at various ages and stages of development. Consistency between parents and staff in guiding behaviour is very important for a child’s development. Positive behaviour management aims at not damaging a child’s self esteem, although it allows children to feel capable and competent. Please see Guiding Children’s behaviour policy.
The Star Room is at that age where children are learning to develop many new gross motor skills. The children are learning to cruise, walk and run. This can be the time where children can be unbalanced and unsteady and easily fall and have bumps. Staff will do their absolute best when supervising children and providing developmentally appropriate equipment to try to avoid any accidents from occurring although sometime accidents just happen. Staff will complete an “exchange of information with parents” form and parents will be required to read and sign this form upon collection of your child.
Controlled risky play is important for a child development. It gives them the opportunity to problem solve, make decisions, learn what’s going to happen and experiment.
Risky play in early childhood can help develop a child’s self-confidence, resilience, executive functioning abilities and even risk-management skills.
Lockers and belongings
Your child will have their own individual locker. You are welcome to keep nappies or belongings in the locker for the week. Please take your child’s bag home regularly so that we are able to clean the lockers. Please also take water bottles home weekly for cleaning and the hats will require regular cleaning.
In the morning you may place your child’s hat on the hooks outside so that it is easily located. Please do not leave hats in lockers or in bags so that the staff can easily access hats for play time.
Building a solid routine
As you and your child embark on this new and exciting adventure here are few important things to remember that will help your child build a solid routine for their days ahead in the Star Room:
- Upon arrival please put your child’s bag in their locker, change your child’s nappy making sure that they are clean and dry and ready for their exciting day ahead of them. Once you have changed your child’s nappy record it on the daily chart next to the sign in/out sheet.
- Please make your child’s cot ensuring for hygiene reasons that the plastic side of the mattress is facing up. This will become an important part of your child’s drop off routine as you complete this task before separation.
- Please apply sunscreen to your child on all areas where they are not covered by clothing in summer. There is sunscreen available in the Star Room or alternatively you can apply it at home before you come to the centre. Please sign that you have applied sunscreen to your child on the daily information chart next to the sign in/out sheet.
- Please dress your child in appropriate clothing for the weather. All tops should have sleeves that cover your child’s shoulders to properly protect them from the sun (please refer to the centre’s sun protection policy).
- When you are ready to leave, settle your child into a favourite activity and play with them for about 5 minutes. It is extremely important to your child that you say goodbye to them and tell them when you will be back e.g. after lunch or after afternoon tea. After you have said goodbye it is best to leave the room and not to draw out this already stressful time. Please feel free to call the centre to check on your child whenever you like. Having your child attend half day initially is advised for a smooth transition.
- Please label ALL of your child’s belongings clearly with their name to prevent belongings going missing.
What to bring each day
Please remember to bring the following items each day:
- Nappies for the day (at least 5)
- Changes of clothing (for all weather types)
- Hat (wide brimmed or legionnaire style) labelled with your child’s name
- Water bottle clearly labelled (please take it home every day and return the next day with your child)
- Bottles (enough for the day and clearly labelled)
- Formula (If needed)
- Comforters (Teddy, blanket or dummy – please put dummies in a labelled container)
- Please provide a wet bag or similar for dirty, wet or soiled clothes.