Starting school is an exciting time for children and their families but it can also be a big step. This can be made easier by ensuring children have a clear idea of what's happening and what to expect.
Below are some useful tips you can offer parents on how to help their child be prepared and have a positive start to school.
The year before school
- Ask your child what they think about starting school.
- Encourage your child to ask questions about going to school.
- Help your child stay healthy. Make sure they have regular health and dental checks and keep immunisations up to date.
- Encourage your child to do things on their own. This could be dressing, going to the toilet, washing their hands, unwrapping their food and opening and closing their drink bottle and lunchbox.
- Talk to friends and other families about what school is like.
- Talk to your child's early childhood educator about things you can do at home to help your child.
- Talk to the school about how you can engage in your child's learning and development at school.
- Ask the school what time your child starts on the first day and where to take them.
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.
Visit the Tips for starting school page to find some useful information sheets to give to parents or make your own.