Starting school is a big and exciting step for your Bundaberg kids and your family. It brings about changes as your child adjusts to a new learning environment, makes new friends, and spends time with new teachers.
Getting your child ready for school means preparing them for future learning and development. School readiness isn’t just about reading and writing skills. It’s about considering the whole child. When deciding when your child should start school, it’s important to think about various factors, such as their age, emotional maturity, language skills, social skills, physical well-being, and their ability to do simple tasks independently.
If your child attends an early childhood education and care service, talk to the educators about their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. Seek their advice on how to best support their transition to school. Ask about any transition strategies they have in place.
You can also speak with the principal of the school your child may attend. Most schools have an orientation program where your child can visit the school, spend time with the teachers, and meet other children.
Here are some ways you can help prepare your child for starting school:
- Talk positively and confidently about school.
- Discuss the changes in their daily routine, like how they’ll get to school and what they’ll have in their lunchbox. (Check out some of our school lunch ideas here)
- Visit the school together before their first day to get familiar with the classrooms, playground, and other facilities.
- Introduce your child to their teachers and speak positively about them.
- Share information about any support systems the school offers, like a buddy system.
- Read books together about starting school.
- Get involved in the school community by participating in playgroups, orientation days, or social gatherings. (Take a look at our Playgroup Guide here to find a playgroup near you)
- Attend school events like assemblies or concerts.
- Develop good relationships with other parents, especially parents of your child’s friends.
- Establish consistent attendance patterns.
- Create routines at home that support your child’s learning, such as reading together and helping with homework.
Your child’s early childhood education and care service can also support their transition to school. Here are some examples of what they can do:
- Talk to children about school and encourage them to ask questions or share concerns.
- Arrange visits to local primary schools to meet teachers and tour the setting.
- Invite school students to visit the service and talk about their experiences.
- Include school-related items in play areas, like uniforms and lunchboxes.
- Help children develop self-help and social skills through routine activities.
- Provide literacy materials for reading and writing in everyday play.
To help your child settle into school comfortably and confidently, consider these suggestions:
- Say goodbye confidently, which helps them feel secure.
- Label your child’s belongings to avoid confusion and anxiety.
- Communicate with your child about their day and how they’re feeling.
- Avoid overloading your child with too many extracurricular activities at first.
If you need out-of-school hours care, plan ahead and discuss it with your child. You can check out our Bundaberg Child Care Guide here to see if your child’s school offers out of school care.
Remember, your child’s school can provide more information on local services that may suit your child and family.