Starting your child at early learning centre


With school well and truly back now in Australia, many families are thinking about or have just started childcare for the younger members of the family.

This can be an exciting but also daunting time. A good way to prepare yourself is to make sure things will be as familiar as possible for your child. For babies and toddlers, this means bringing the same bedding as you use at home. We have explained this further below along with some helpful information so you are prepared for this next step.

Here in our nursery (also known as the Tadpoles room) at Nestle In Alstonville, you can be confident that your little one is in the best possible care available on the Northern Rivers. With a purpose-built environment, we accommodate for ages 0 – 2 years. In the Tadpoles room, we make the transition into care as smooth as possible, providing care that caters for each child’s individual routine as well as supporting the development of each child.

With a mix of soft area’s consisting of carpet and cushions to the hard floor areas – all set up to support and encourage developing children both safely and securely.

Whether you are a new parent or curious as to how we operate at Nestle In; we encourage parents to visit our centre for a “day in the life” of their child. During this visit, you can experience the Tadpoles environment and gain a better understanding of how we can accommodate to your little one’s routine. This will help parents feel more secure and confident in your choice of care for your child.

Our nursery program reflects and encourages the children’s milestones; this includes addressing attachments issues, self-help skills and gross motor skills such as sitting, crawling and walking.

Children learn from cause and effect experiences, such as “If I do this, that will happen”. From here our program flows into early literacy. Such things as picture books, simple songs, rhymes, labelling items in their environment and finger plays are integrated into their daily routine. Along with early numeracy activities such as counting 1,2,3 to stacking blocks and cups is encouraged.

In the Nestle In Alstonville, nursery creativity is also widely promoted. Extensively developing their young minds through the use of finger painting, small/thick brush painting, sand, water and play dough - all great sensory activities.

Below we have outlined a few and helpful tips that may help you when just starting out at our daycare centre.

The first and most important tip is to make sure you show your child how excited you are about them starting childcare. Reinforce and talk to your child about how much fun they will have meeting new friends and learning new games. Reassure them that after meeting and playing with their new friends that Mummy or Daddy will come to pick them up. It is important that your child sees you being positive about childcare and not worrying.

Secondly, it's encouraged to start with a short orientation period. The majority of nurseries that we have come across and heard about from clients also advocate this. It is important that you visit the nursery alone before making the final decision to see if you are happy for your child to attend that nursery. We also encourage a discussion with the director to discuss your parenting philosophies and ensure they will do their best to match these as best as they can in the childcare environment.

When you take your child for their first visit some parents like to stay at the nursery the whole time. You may like to encourage your child to go off and join in the activities with the other children but try to always stay in sight. It is also important to help encourage the initial meeting with the people who will be your child’s new carers and allow those carers to introduce themselves to your child.

The second time you visit the nursery some parents like to stay with your child for a short time and then aim to leave your child at the nursery for an hour or two and then collect them. A very important tip is to never sneak off without saying goodbye to your child. While it may seem like the easy option to sneak out the door while your child is involved happily in an activity your child will eventually look up to see if you are watching. If you have disappeared your child may spend the next hour upset and looking for you. It is better to have a few tears when saying goodbye than for your child to get upset when they realise you are missing.

Depending on how your child is coping you may continue with these short visits for the first 3 or 4 times you leave your child at childcare before attempting a full day. However, if your child is coping well then you may only need to do 1 or 2 of the short stays.

Other than the initial settling in the process the other worry I hear from parents is ‘will all my hard work in establishing a feeding and self-settling routine be ruined by childcare’. Generally, it won’t be ruined but your child will need to learn that there will be one set of rules for childcare and one set for home.

For more information on the Tadpoles 0 – 2 years program, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 02 6628 1837 at a time convenient to you.

Client Feedback on Alstonville near Wollongbar Preschool

See below a testimonial from a client of the Alstonville, near Wollongbar Preschools.


"Hello to all the staff at what we call ‘day care’ in Alstonville, near Wollongbar. I am one grandmother of two children and am writing to express my own personal appreciation to all of you for what you do for these children.

I have just finished reading the oldest child’s last ‘school report’ from the Alstonville, near Wollongbar Preschool. What you do with these children is amazing. I am a university teacher and I wish I had half the skills, knowledge, care and individualised consideration for my students that you do for these ‘learners’. It would be a lot more fun learning from you as educators compared to me as a university lecturer and probably a lot more effective too.

The early learning framework seems to me to be the blueprint for what every teacher at every level of the education system needs to achieve with their learners. At university we focus on an employability framework. At your Alstonville, near Wollongbar Preschool the early learning framework focusses on creating decent human beings with emotional intelligence as well as the basis of literacy, numeracy, knowledge etc. The work you are doing is laying excellent foundations.

I like that you identify areas of improvement for my oldest grandchild and also note their areas of strength and that this is done with evidence and compassion, not judgement and criticism.

As a university teacher, I won a national award for my teaching. However, I learned more about good teaching from my oldest child’s book than any academic workshop, lecturer etc and have attended in my 20 years university experience.

What I have learned:

  • Make it fun
  • Make it active
  • Make it interesting
  • Make it relevant
  • Make it ‘easy’ in terms of clues, scaffolding, hints, support etc
  • Chunk it up
  • Make it personalised

When I am lecturing I may have 200 learners (in a lecture) or 30 (in a tutorial) compared to the small groups you work with. But, I can’t seem to apply your principles and adapt them to the environment in which I am an educator?

It must take a lot of time to create each child’s portfolio? You have to be very accurate and detailed about the ELF criteria, your actions, the children etc which is is fantastic. The older child’s ‘book’ is the most comprehensive ‘report’ I have ever seen for any learner, ever, at any level and appears to be done with time, effort, care and professionalism. I am really impressed and very grateful that my grandchild’s learning is getting much more time, energy and motivation from you.

Occasionally, I do the drop off or pick up, during this time all the children are engaged in general care, so it looks like baby sitting or day care. I have never been there when you are engaged in the activities documented in the older child’s book. So, I don’t get to see the excellent, structured, educational work you do. The book is a great tool for communicating and documenting this.


Example: An interaction between one of my grandchildren and another child, where both of them needed to improve their social skills. The way I read this document, it was handled really well. I venture to say that if I had this level of professional, early education about social skills or emotional intelligence my later life would have been a lot easier.

This ‘report’ is really useful for me to know where the grandchild is up to in learning and development. It gives me some clues to what to talk to them about in terms of what they have been learning at day care, what to expect.

Example: I was impressed that the older grandchild could count and recognise their name (last year 2016). Now I can see that maybe they could also do basic maths addition etc (2017). Very useful and interesting.

To be honest, I thought that this literacy and numeracy, early learning was just a bonus, and all this would start happening at school. But now I can see you play a vital role in early learning and school, readiness. Indeed, I think you give a school head start, not just readiness.

The NSW Transition to School Statement

This statement is a great idea – I didn’t even know it existed. Obviously as a grandmother I am not into this level of detail. Just saying it is a great idea. It would be useful document for my incoming university students. The attention to detail and evidence-based information you provide will give the learners new teacher a really good heads up and some great background information.

I didn’t attend my graduation because I thought it was ridiculous to have graduation from day care, but I can see that you have had a significant, formative influence on the children’s early learning, that sets a great foundation for their later education. You should get a lot more pay, appreciation and recognition.

Thank you:

Well done, great job and thank you very much, speaking for myself as a grandmother."