Starting Nursery


Hello, I am Emma Simpson. I am an Early Years Specialist in Inner London. I have watched many children transition into a school nursery setting. This can be a big change for some children. Just like adults, new events can be exciting and scary all at the same time. It can also feel like a big change for the important adults in their lives too! It is very common to feel worried about all kinds of things. Will they like it? Will they make friends? Here are some ideas to help support this big transition...

Stay Positive! Children learn about the world through watching how the adults in their life react. If you are positive and relaxed about nursery, it is more likely the child will be too. Try to hold on to all wonderful experiences they will have. New friends and interests will emerge, shaping who they grow to become. Have confidence the staff are experienced and will support your child while they are there. Children are wonderfully resilient and will thrive in this stimulating new environment.

The first day can be particularly hard for families, with children sometimes becoming upset. In my experience saying a warm and clear goodbye and then walking away is most beneficial in allowing the child to focus on the day ahead. The parents confidence and calm goodbye can really communicate to the child, the day will be okay. 

Talk About Nursery It is Important to give children space and time to talk about this big transition before it happens. This is to avoid the child becoming overwhelmed by the change.

Talk about the things they are looking forward to and be open to hearing what they might be nervous about- you can never predict what children might be thinking!  That's Me's personalised nursery book, My Nursery can be a great way to prompt these conversations. This simple story shows them what to expect, what will happen and how they might feel. By seeing their character within the book, the child can more easily imagine themselves starting nursery and helps them to consider what it might be like and how how they might feel about it. That's Me also have some free resources to use a long side the book.   

Questions to help start these conversation can include; 

    • What do you think your nursery will look like? 
    • What toys do you think they will have at nursery? 
    • Are you feeling excited about starting nursery?
    • Do you think your new friends will like reading stories? 
    • I wonder what your teachers name will be?

When answering their questions, try to incorporate a compliment to boost their confidence. We all need to feel good about ourselves when doing something new and a little scary! 

    • You are so fun, lots of people will want to play with you.
    • I love spending time with you, so I know other people will too.
    • Your teacher is so excited to meet you.
    • You are so clever, you are going to love learning lots of new things.

Role Play Nursery Role playing 'a day at nursery' with toys and teddies can also help the child prepare. Together you could pretend and practice; saying goodbye, sitting and listening, go to the toilet independently, putting on and taking off your coat independently, lunchtime and home time. Your child can can dip in and out of teacher and student role, helping them to gain a little familiarity and confidence with what their day may look like. Be silly! Making children laugh about nursery will help to grow their curiosity and excitement. 

Get To Know The Nursery Try to see the nursery prior to attending the first day. Even seeing the nursery gates can be a nice way to introduce the idea that they will soon be attending. Asking for the teacher and assistant's names. This can be a way to incorporate them into conversation at home and make them feel more familiar. 

Good Luck!

Emma Simpson 


Personalised Books you may be interested in:

Free Personalised Resources you may be interested in:

Free Printable resources about Nursery