Is your child starting kindergarten next year? Starting school is an exciting and significant time in every child’s life. A positive start to school can lead to children developing a lifelong love of learning. As the new school year begins, parents and teachers of preschoolers have much to think about. Research in recent years has highlighted the importance of early education, and we all want the best for the children we care about. Parents of four and five year-olds might not realise, however, that this is also the perfect time to begin thinking about kindergarten.
What is transition to school?
Transition to school begins well before a child starts school and ends when your child feels safe, secure and has a sense of belonging at school. It involves a range of partners working together to provide experiences that will help your child gain the skills and confidence they need to adjust to their new school environment. Orientation activities that help your child become familiar with their new school environment and routines are an important component of your child’s transition to school.
What does it mean for my child?
A successful transition to school can impact on a child’s social skills; it can reduce behavioural problems and ultimately improve academic outcomes. Your child’s early childhood education and care service, their new school and relevant community organizations work together to help you and your child feel confident to start school.
Contact your local school or the school you have enrolled or intend to enroll your child in and ask them about their transition program. Many schools will have or will be beginning their transition program soon. Talk to your school about what is available for your child.
How can you support your child with their transition to school?
There are many simple ways you as a parent/carer can help your child enjoy a positive start to school.
- Talking with your child about what they see and understand about everyday family events is a simple way to learn about how your child is feeling. Listen to your child’s thoughts about starting school and talk positively about their new school. Together, visit your child’s new school then draw or paint a picture of it and talk about what you saw. Ask your child if they have any questions about starting kindergarten and work together to find answers.
- Reading together, especially stories about change or starting school will develop your child’s language, thinking and literacy skills. Share a starting school storybook with your child. Visit your local library or ask your child’s early childhood teacher for recommendations on books to read.
- Practicing routines. As it gets closer to the start of school, set up a morning and evening routine to help reduce the number of changes they will experience on the first day of school. The routine can include packing their lunch box, dressing themselves and practicing the trip to school.
- Assisting your child to have the confidence to know how to get help. Supporting your child to work out answers to problems or concerns will help them develop coping strategies and encourage their independence and confidence.
- Celebrate this significant milestone! Together with your child, take a photo at school and put it on your fridge.