A new calendar year in Australia means a new group at kinder – a new group to settle in and feel at home.
One of the best ways to help the children feel as if they belong is for them to bring their buddy bears along as well. This is an idea I got from another kinder teacher (sorry, I can’t remember who or where now) – for families and children to make a little felt bear from a kit that we give them, then bring them along when they start kinder.
These bears will stay at kinder all year, then go on to school at the end of the Kinder year and wait for the children to meet them there the following year at the start of Prep.
We tried this idea last year for the first time – and the Prep teacher this year told me that on their first day the bears were the first thing the children headed for when they arrived in their new classroom. We had already seen how some of the children really appreciated having their bear as a transitional object to hang onto when adjusting to kinder – some barely looked at them after the first day, others carried them around for days and in one case, weeks.
Lots of them have been given some very individual decorations, to make them as unique as their child. The thinking and planning and loving work that has gone into them (often between the child and their grandparents) make them very special. It’s fun to get to know each bear!
I am very grateful to that unknown teacher for a wonderful idea that works right through kinder and on into school to help each child feel that they have a special place in their new surroundings.