Here's what happens at daycare after you've dropped them off (and bawled your eyes out).

Only About Children
Thanks to our brand partner, Only About Children

It’s a feeling those of us with children in early childhood care can no doubt relate to — the tears and the worry (from both child and parent!) at morning drop-off.

You’ve got a lot on your mind, like getting to work, what might be for dinner later, not to mention the fact that you already miss your child and hope they’ll settle in quickly for their day.

Waiting on the station platform, or stuck in traffic, I bet you’ve wondered exactly what happens in those hours after you’ve headed to work?

I’d love to be a fly on the wall and watch my son interacting with his little friends and their educators. While I can’t see the world exactly through his eyes, I can get a sense from the educators who spend time with him.

I spoke to Jenny Kable, Children’s Services Nursery Curriculum Specialist at Only About Children early learning centres to see how they approach an average day with a young baby in their care.

The primary caregiver approach.

If you’ve ever watched your child alongside other children, or have more than one of your own, you’ll know there’s no such thing as ‘typical’. Babies and toddlers have different sleep patterns, interests and emerging personalities.

At Oac, the staff are encouraged “to go with the flow of the children”, Jenny tells Mamamia.

“The program is relationship-based, with each of the children having their own primary caregiver,” Jenny says. “The goal is to create a close relationship, and for the child to feel safe and secure.”

For this reason, the primary caregiver greets the child each morning, and also gets to know and work with their family. And if your child is ever upset at drop-off, or at any stage throughout the day, educators are also on hand to calm them and help them feel secure. They may suggest an activity, or move your child closer to some of their friends for extra support. Each primary caregiver has plenty of settling strategies up their sleeve, which is comforting to know.

Smiling on the outside, crying in the car! Image: Getty.

“Our core value is respect for children, even the youngest ones. Whether they are three months or six weeks old, we believe in treating them as you would any human being,” Jenny explains.

This involves, where possible, having the caregiver perform intimate care tasks for consistency and respect. Essential aspects of the routine, such as feeding, sleeping and changing are seen as important learning experiences for the child. Through actively participating in these tasks, children develop independence and “become capable and confident learners”.


Their emotional wellbeing.

As parents of young children, we hear a lot about holistic learning. I asked Jenny to explain why it’s an essential way of looking at early childhood education.

“At Oac, we don’t just look at the academic side and cognitive development, but rather the whole child and all aspects of their development, physical, social and emotional,” says Jenny.

“We help children develop a strong sense of self and identity and wellbeing. In doing this, we work in partnership with families as well, who come bringing their own experiences of life, culture, and community.”

How they're learning and growing.

Jenny explains that all of their campuses' carefully designed programs support the foundational years of development. For children aged from zero to six , it’s prime time for their learning, growth and formation of their own creative identities. So, some pretty big stuff.

Their campuses offer sustainability and active programs, as well as music, Spanish, 'Book of The Month', and dietitian-designed menus appropriate to every age.

One way in which Oac campuses are unique is that they use an age-specific nursery curriculum, Oac Grow.

“We take the Early Years Framework and think about what that looks like for a two year old,” Jenny shares. “The important thing is that you can’t separate education and care in the early years. From the minute a child walks through the door to the minute they go home, there are opportunities for learning.”


So, whether that means a greeting of ‘Hola’, counting fingers or toes in Spanish, or exploring a new ‘Book of the Month’, children are not just having a great time, they’re little learning sponges.

The skills they're taking home without even realising it.

I love reading to my child, but I didn’t realise just how beneficial it could be. Not only because it encourages literacy, but also because it “facilitates moments of closeness and helps build relationships, while exploring things like emotions, community and family. We choose Australian authors where possible”, says Jenny.

“‘Book of the Month’ also helps us to start talking about topics and give guidance about ways families might read to children. At the nursery age, there’s a lot of repetition, making animal noises together and other and things that make reading fun.”

Now if only we could wave a magic wand to stop our children from being upset at drop-off. It’s a horrible feeling, but with Oac’s primary caregiver approach, you know your child is in the safest of hands. And with so many experiences woven into each day, they’ll be engrossed in their learning until they see you again.

And even better, educators can follow up with a photo and story about your child via an iphone app for peace of mind. One less thing you need to worry about in your busy day.

That doesn't mean you won't cry at drop-off. It's absolutely normal if you're a blubbering mess, like I am, but at least we can be comforted knowing our little ones have the attention they need.

How do you deal with the drop-off tears? Tell us below!

This content is brought to you with thanks by our brand partner, Only About Children.

Only About Children

Only About Children (Oac) offers a unique approach to childcare that gives children the platform they need to thrive. Oac uses an approach that exceeds high quality education to include the overall health and total wellbeing of the child, in exceptional age based learning environments. It operates 70+ early learning and preschool campuses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Click here to find out more about Oac’s holistic approach to early learning and development. Tour today.