Starting School

During the summer holidays

  • Show your child where the school is and talk about how you will get there.
  • Arrange play times with other families whose children will be going to the same school. It helps if your child knows another child at their school at the start of prep.
  • Practise the things your child will need to do to get ready for school (e.g. putting things in their bag, remembering to take a hat).
  • Confirm your before or after school care arrangements and explain these to your child.
  • Be positive about starting school and enjoy your child’s excitement.
  • Visit your local library and read books with your child about starting school.

The first day of school

  • Make sure your child knows who will take them to school and pick them up on the first day.
  • Help your child to organise their clothes, hat, shoes and socks the night before.
  • Help your child to pack their school bag with a snack, drink, lunch and a hat.
  • Place a spare pair of underpants and a change of clothes in a plastic bag. Let your child know these clothes are in their bag in case of any accidents at school.
  • Put sunscreen on your child in the morning if it's needed.
  • Show your child where you will meet them at the end of the school day.
  • At the end of the day talk to your child about what happened at school.

The first year of school

  • Find out about what your child is learning at school. By doing this, you can support your child’s learning and find out how your child is adjusting to school.
  • If your child is having difficulty at school, talk to their teacher. Your child can also say what they think might help them.
  • Keep talking to your child about school. Ask them about their new experiences, what they like and what they find hard.
  • If your child goes to care before or after school, find a way of sharing your child’s school progress with the staff.
  • Share feedback about your child’s experience of starting school with the school and early childhood service.
  • Organise time for your child and their new friends to play together outside of school.

Early childhood services and schools will organise programs to help your child settle into school. Talk to your child’s early childhood educator or the school.

Buddy system

Many primary schools have buddy system for Prep children. They will partner your child with older students. This is to help your child have a welcoming experience from the very beginning.

The buddy system helps older children learn to take on responsibility. The younger children know that they have a fellow student they can go to for help.

Buddy systems help your child make friends and create a sense of belonging with the school community.

Get ready for prep

  • Practise the journey to and from school
  • Arrange play dates with families who will have kids at the same school
  • Encourage independence – skills like dressing, packing and carrying a bag, applying sunscreen and going to the toilet
  • Label all belongings
  • Talk about and practise any after school arrangements
  • Check start and finish times and where to drop off and collect your child
  • Be positive, get your child excited, and talk about any worries they have
  • Visit a library and read with your child
  • Start using the name of their new teacher to help build familiarity
  • Establish predictable routines including dinner, bath time and bed time

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