Usually the first day at Little Giants® is not the first day of full time care. Its purpose is that the child gets used to his or her primary caregiver.
The accompanying parent acts passive during the whole day and lets the child independently explore the center. The first day should not be longer than two or three hours. At the end of the day the parents and the primary caregiver decide whether a second "exploration day" is necessary or whether the child stay alone at the center.
As mentioned before the adjustment phase requires a great deal of flexibility from all sides: The child as to deal with a completely new environment, the primary caregiver has to provide the child with safety and comfort and the parent involved with the adjustment has to stay close to the center to pick up the child when it becomes distressed.
On the first day, on which the child will stay at the center without his or her parents, the parent says goodbye to the child and leaves the classroom. The primary caregiver gives the child special attention, distracts him or her and provides the necessary comfort. In the meantime the parent either stays in or different room or in proximity to the center. Should the child become very distressed, which might be the case after only 15 to 30 minutes, we will contact the parents. The parent will return to the center and pick up the child and leave the center. It is essential that the child understands that is only play and have fun in the child care center with no parents present.
During next fourteen days the duration of the stays in the daycare centers will be gradually increased.
Our experience shows that after two weeks most children are able to stay for a whole day in daycare. Nevertheless, it is required that also during the third and fourth week parents are ready to pick up their child at any time and promptly react to separation anxiety.
After four weeks the adjustment phase will be discussed in a parent-caregiver-conference. Together parents and caregivers decide, whether the child is fully adjusted to daycare or whether the adjustment phase needs to be prolonged.