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COS at Drop-Off and Pick-Up: Supporting Coming and Going in Childcare

A Circle Story about drop-off and pick-up at childcare and the experience of a parent, infant, and educator during the transition.

Every day teachers support young children and their caregivers with critical transitions into and out of early education and care settings. Young children need to feel connected and supported during these periods of time while away from their caregiver. Because children who have strong relationships with caring adults do better in learning environments, the COS Classroom Approach includes a simple children’s storybook, Someone to Be With, to support strong, first relationships for young children in early care settings.

Every day teachers support young children and their caregivers with critical transitions into and out of early education and care settings.

Participating in the COS Classroom Approach gives educators a shared language with which to talk to colleagues and families about the significance of their everyday interactions for children’s felt security. This helps all involved to see what is Hidden in Plain Sight—just how important relationships are to the children in their care. One educator, Julie, shared the following Circle story about a transition she saw between a parent, infant, and educator in the nursery room:

One morning, Julie was bottle-feeding a baby on the couch, and her colleague Marie was sitting on a cushion, two babies playing beside her. The door opened and baby Lily arrived on the hip of her father, David. As David stepped into the room, Lily began looking all around her.

‘Good morning,’ Marie said warmly, and Lily’s eyes found her.

‘Hi,’ David said.

Julie saw Lily’s face light up at the sight of her educator and watched as Lily wriggled with excitement in her father’s arms. Knowing how hard separations had been last month for Lily and David alike, Julie was curious to see what this moment would be like for Lily, David, and Marie.

‘Yes,’ David said, laughing, ‘it’s Marie!’ He put Lily down and set about placing her belongings in a locker.

With a broad smile, Marie held her arms out for Lily, who began crawling toward her.

David stood still, pausing what he was doing to watch his baby go.

Halfway between her father and educator, Lily stopped crawling. Turning her head, she looked to David, who met her gaze with a smile and a nod, his face sending her a message of encouragement. Lily turned back to Marie and with renewed confidence, crawled fast to her, where she was welcomed with a big hug.

‘Welcome back Lily,’ said Marie.

Marie and David talked amiably for a few minutes about Lily’s sleep, bottles and blanket, and about a new tooth she had coming through. Marie shared what she and Julie had planned for the day, until it was time for David to leave. Then, David gave his daughter a kiss, and said to Marie and Julie, ‘Thank you for looking after my Lily today.’

Marie led Lily in a goodbye wave, and David left for work.

As the door closed behind David, Lily’s face fell, and she began to cry. Marie stayed with her, comforting her. ‘I’ve got you, Lily, and I will keep you safe,’ she soothed.

In this moment of transition between the parent and the educator, baby Lily saw the adults working together to safely transition her from the care of her parent to the care of the educator. After a few minutes of comfort from her educator, Lily was wriggling again, this time, ready to head off on grand adventures and begin her day in the early care center.