As a center director, I probably took a bit of pride when children didn’t want to leave the program at the end of the day. This meant they were enjoying the experience, right? Sure! However, I was recently challenged by an early childhood teacher to be more intentional about that end of the day connection between parent and child. She shared that she saw it as her DUTY to stage a joyful “reunion” between parent and child at pick-up time.
The word “reunion” really struck a chord with me. Mom or dad have been separated from their precious child for an entire day. What can I do as an early childhood professional to make the transition between child care program and home a positive experience for both? Ideas include -
- Save favorite activities for earlier in the day
- Write on a white board just outside the classroom door one experience the children had that day to serve as a conversation starter between parent & child
- Help parents understand the importance of rituals for children during hello’s & good-bye’s
- Practice with children what they can do during that part of the day by asking questions like “What will you say to Grandma when she picks you up?”
Intentionally striving to make a positive reunion between parent and child will not only be appreciated by busy parents working to get home and spend some quality time with their family before bedtime, but means you have taken the next step in seeing your role beyond just classroom teacher.
P.S. To share your thoughts on this topic or strategies you use to stage a bonding reunion between parent and child at the end of the day, go to http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/childcare/reunion/