Host:

As the beginning of the school year gets closer there are many ways you and your family can prepare for school.  While it is impossible to plan for everything, considering what your child needs for a positive start can make a big difference to your child’s mental health and wellbeing.

Child in Kinder:

When you first go to school you feel a little bit nervous.

Child in Kinder:

I can’t wait to go to school next year.

Child in Kinder:

I visited my school and I wasn’t nervous. 

Child in Kinder:

I’m feeling really excited.

Educator:

Our programming aims to help children develop skills that enhance their wellbeing, resilience and sense of identity.  We are always talking with parents about how their children are progressing. We provide families with ideas and resources that might help them handle the change and also settle into their new environment. We also speak with school staff so we can share information and work together to support a positive transition.

 

Teacher:

At our school we encourage the parents to get to know how things work and how they can get involved in the school community. Our transition sessions give children experience of what it’s like to be in a classroom. They get to meet their teacher and other students in their class which is really important.  We get really helpful information from the early childhood education care centre’s – and here we find things like what they like to play with, how they have coped with change in the past, and what environment helps them to learn best. 

Parent(2):

There was, um, a couple of evenings where the parents were all brought together, um, actually brought together in the classroom that the kids would be in so we got to experience the environment that they were in. And at those events they spoke about the philosophy of the school, they spoke about the structure of the school, when recess was, when lunchtime was, um ah,  when activities on what days certain activities would be. The one thing you all have in common is your kids and you start talking about what your kids are doing, and what issues you might be having and having discussions around there, so, those transition, you know, programs and social evenings have  really assisted in Audrey’s transition to school.

Child:

We went to visit Banyule. And there were climbing frames and slides, and monkey bars, but I couldn’t do the monkey bars, I’m still learning to do them.
Child:
I got friends to go with, to my school with me.
Kay:
As you talk with your child about school you will get a sense of what they are excited about and what might be worrying them. If worries become evident, try to give them the information they need to feel more secure and confident. 
 
Of course, at times of change we may not have all the answers. It’s okay to simply provide reassurance and let your child know that they may have to wait to find out. In the weeks before school starts you might begin to develop school routines, like keeping a regular bedtime, getting dressed in the morning, and planning what other things you and your child will need on school days.
Parent(3):
We refer to a weekly planner throughout the week and it’s really important for us to use it and utilise it because it just helps us to get into a routine, and obviously with Cartier starting school next year she needs to establish a routine because obviously there’s going to be different transitions throughout the day and different activities and so forth, so it just sort of helps with getting us all organised and we all use it. She sort of packs her bag already, um, and we’ve started  like a library run where we borrow a book, so she know to come home, and we read it and then we return it so start being a little bit independent.
Celeste:
Some children find starting school difficult, no matter what planning and preparation you have done. If this is evident in the way they cope at the beginning of each school day then it can be useful to think about how you might respond to this.  One option is to ensure your child has time to play with friends before the school day begins, or your child might respond better if you leave promptly once you have dropped them off; saying goodbye and telling them you will be back at home time. You might have to try a few things before you find what works. Your sense of confidence that “they will be ok” will be what really is important. 
Parent(4):
First day is heartbreaking, ah because you know this is the second stage in their lives, but even through there was the initial hiccup with his separation anxiety, it’s really good to know that he really enjoys going to school, and he chatters about it all the time, and looks forward to going the next day, and had made friends, and likes the teachers
Host:
Preparing for school is about tapping into your child’s skills and strengths, anticipating the challenges your child may face and helping them to approach school with a positive outlook. The planning and preparation that you do can make a big difference to how your child feels and copes with starting school.  Once your child starts you might find that there are some days that are a bit harder than others, or you might be surprised at how quickly and easily your child settles in. Whatever your experience, it is important to prepare your child and your family for the changes that starting school brings.