Families play an important role in supporting children to manage the transition to primary school. Here, Fran Proietto shares her experiences helping daughter Cartia prepare for starting school next year.

My husband, Daniel, and I started talking about school at the end of Term 3 when we received a welcome letter from the school (St Clement of Rome in Bulleen, Victoria). It welcomed Cartia to the school and provided information about orientation dates in October. We put the dates in our diary and began casually chatting with Cartia about school and some friends from preschool who will also be going to the same school. 

Cartia has been asking about the orientation days and we have been chatting about the things she will need for school like a lunch box and uniform. When we go out we are starting to pack fruit snacks and lunch containers to help get her used to opening and closing containers. We’re getting Cartia to practise putting on and taking off her jumper by herself, encouraging her to pack her bag and be responsible for her belongings. 

We have also been visiting the school and playing in the playground, talking about the teachers and picking up Cartia’s older brother, Christian, from school so she can see what happens when you go to school. Cartia is encouraged to say hello and introduce herself, and I will try to organise play dates before school starts so she can meet some friends.

The preschool – Creative Play Early Learning Centre in Bulleen – has asked families to bring in lunch boxes so the children can practise unwrapping snacks in cling wrap, and they have introduced library borrowing, which Cartia enjoys because she needs to be responsible for remembering to bring in her book and library bag. 

The children are also encouraged to sign in and out, which Cartia loves because she gets to practise writing her name. Group discussions help the children talk about any feelings they may be having about starting school and any issues that may arise. Children are also encouraged to be responsible for their belongings and toileting.

Cartia is very eager to start school. I think she will settle in well because she is very familiar with the school as Christian is there already so she can't wait to join him. She knows she has three orientation visits coming up this month where she will get to tour the school and meet friends and teachers. She is literally counting down until Christmas as she’ll be closer to starting school. I'm looking forward to one school drop-off and hopefully a day to myself every so often!

Fran and Cartia feature in our Starting School videos. Watch the videos to learn about their experiences getting ready for school and practising coping skills.  

You may also find the Starting School children’s activity books useful before, during and after your child starts school.