Enrolling and Getting Ready
Once you have chosen an ECE service or a combination of services to use, it is time to enrol and get ready to start.
The service will ask you to complete an enrolment form and agree with its policies and charging practices. Read the forms and agreements carefully before signing. Negotiate any aspects - for example, if you or the service will supply food for your child’s special dietary requirements.
As part of enrolling, you will be asked:
- if your child has any allergies, is on any medication, and has any medical conditions;
- who has legal access to your child and about any access and custody agreements;
- the names of person/s (14 years or older) who you agree can collect your child;
- contact information for you during the day, and emergency contacts; and
- your child's doctor's name and contact information.
Before, or on, your child’s first day you will be asked to show or supply:
- proof of your child’s name and date of birth, and
- your child’s immunisation certificate (from the Well Child book or ask your doctor).
Check with the service what things it expects parents to supply. You may need to get your child a lunch-box, a drink bottle, or some extra baby bottles. Organise some spare play clothes and underwear (or nappies), and a sunhat (unless the service supplies this). Perhaps get a spare car seat to leave at the service if you expect there will be times when you’ll ask someone else to pick up your child. Put your child’s name on all items.
Children in group care can get sick, and quite often. So, check with your doctor that your child has had all the recommended vaccinations. It can be a good idea to prepare a plan for what you will do when your child is sick. (If your child becomes sick during the day, who will pick your child up? How much work leave do you have? Who will stay home?).
Connections to help smooth the transition
Should you not know other families, it can help to smooth the transition to organise a playdate for your child with another child. During your familiarisation visits (see page 18), notice if there is another child who is about the same age and see if you can talk with the child’s parents and extend an invite.
It can also be helpful if your child’s key teacher (see page 15) or homebased educator meets you and your child in your home environment. Invite the teacher or educator to visit (perhaps for morning tea or an evening coffee?). This will help your child to see them as people who are interested in them, and not as strangers.