Time to Start School

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A family guide to preparing for Kindergarten with Armidale Community of Schools. Starting school is an exciting time for children and a significant event in the life of children and their families …

Strong relationships and information sharing between families, early childhood settings and schools help support a child’s successful transition to school. Children who have a positive start to school are likely to engage and experience ongoing academic and social success.

Children can start Kindergarten at the beginning of the school year if they turn 5 on or before 31st July that year. By law, all children must be in compulsory schooling by their 6th birthday.

When your child starts school is an individual decision. You may wish to discuss this with your child’s preschool teacher, carer, doctor or your local primary school. Our teachers are trained to work with your child regardless of their age or level of development.

Children develop at different rates and learn skills in different ways. Your school will respond to the needs, learning styles and rates of progress of individual students. Schools also plan learning experiences based on the skills students bring with them to school.

Helping your child

You can do a lot to help prepare your child for Kindergarten before their big “first day”. The following skills are useful for children starting Kindergarten. Everyone develops at a different pace, so this is only a guide and not all children will have these skills. 

Language skills

  • read books together
  • sing songs together
  • have fun with rhymes and jokes
  • give simple instructions to follow, e.g. how to pack their school bag
  • identify pictures in books, magazines, on television or the internet
  • have your child ask and answer questions
  • encourage your child to join in conversations with a range of people

Writing skills

  • practice drawing, scribbling or writing with pencils, crayons, paintbrushes on paper or with sticks in sand
  • write numbers and letters
  • encourage your child to use a capital letter to start their name e.g. Max
  • encourage your child to trace, copy and/or write their name

Mathematics skills

  • encourage your child to talk about numbers using words such as many, a lot, more, less
  • help them to find things in a group that are different, or the same, such as shapes or colours
  • involve your child in everyday counting activities, such as setting the table

Personal/social skills

  • organise times for your child to play with other children so that they can learn to share and take turns
  • encourage them to tidy up after playing
  • make them aware of rules and the reasons for having them.

Physical skills

  • help them to hold scissors and cut and paste pictures
  • encourage play with building blocks and puzzles
  • play hopping and skipping games
  • encourage your child to move and dance to music

Keep playing

Play is one of the most important needs children have, and play is still vital for children once they start Kindergarten. Children play because it is fun and they are actually learning. Play uses their bodies and their imagination, communication and cooperation. They also gain confidence from trying new skills and improving them. Children need time after each school day to relax and play.

Many schools offer transition or school readiness programs to familiarise your child with school and start developing the skills to assist in a successful start at school. Schools also offer orientation days towards the end of the year to welcome children starting Kindergarten the following year. Contact your local school for details of transition and orientation programs.

Enrolling at your local school

NSW public schools have specific local enrolment areas determined by the Department of Education. Students enrol in public schools based on their home address. All public schools ensure there are enough places for students in their local enrolment area.

You can find your local NSW public school using the school finder tool at https://education.nsw.gov.au/school-finder
School principals can also help with enrolment inquiries throughout the year.

The best way to find out about your local school is to visit, take a tour of the school and speak with the principal. Make an appointment with the principal and find out first-hand what the school has to offer your child. Look around the school, classrooms and make your own observations and decisions about your local school.

If you haven’t already enrolled your child to start Kindergarten in 2019, please contact your local school. 

Ready for school checklist 

Things to do this year

  • If your child attends preschool or a long day care centre, talk to staff about their transition to school.
  • Attend a school orientation or transition to school program.
  • Take your child to your local community health nurse or doctor for a health check and make sure their immunisations are up to date before school starts.
  • If your child takes medication or has an allergy, a medical condition or additional needs, inform the school as early as possible and make an appointment to speak with school staff.
  • Fill in a travel pass application if this applies to you at www.transport.nsw.gov.au/ssts  
  • Organise outside of school hours care.
  • Practice safely walking or travelling to and from school.
  • Continue reading to your child.
  • Connect with your school and other parents.

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