Preparing your child for Prep
As a parent, you play a vital role in your child’s education. There are many things you can do to support a great start to school for your child.
Approved kindergarten programs can support your child’s learning before school in a play-based environment. Kindergarten programs are planned to develop children’s skills, knowledge and understandings which support their continued learning. You can enrol them in a kindergarten program in the year before they start Prep.
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How you can help
All children have different interests, needs and motivations and each child’s transition from kindy to Prep will be unique. You can help your child to feel more comfortable about starting school by engaging in everyday activities.
You can help your child prepare for their first year of school by:
- building confidence
- strengthening their independence
- having a daily routine
- packing a healthy lunch
- knowing your school
- getting involved with your school
- doing family activities at home.
Build your child’s confidence
Help to build your child’s skills to cope in various situations and increase their self-confidence by:
- finding answers to their questions or concerns together.
- talking to your child about how to ask for help and model what to say.
- asking your child’s kindy teacher for ideas about how you can help your child to prepare or school
- talking through some “what will I do if….?” situations with your child, for example “what will I do if my yoghurt spills?”
Strengthen your child’s independence
Before your child starts school, you can encourage independence by helping your child to practice:
- packing and carrying their own school bag
- putting on their shoes
- eating and drinking without help
- going to the toilet on their own
- using tissues to blow their nose
- recognising their belongings.
Daily routines can help children understand what they need to do, when to do it each day and why it’s important.
To help prepare your child for school, encourage a routine which includes:
- going to bed early
- waking up at a certain time and leaving plenty of time to get ready
- having a healthy breakfast and needed for energy and concentration
- preparing and eating lunch
- making time for physical activities.
Packing a healthy lunch
When packing your child’s lunch:
- include them in making choices and helping you
- provide healthy and filling food in realistic quantities for morning tea and lunch
- make sure they can easily open wrapped items and their lunch box
- provide a variety of smaller items instead of 1 or 2 large items
- provide a water bottle every day and encourage your child to drink it.
To find out more information about healthy food and drinks, visit Smart choices .
Contact your school or check their website for more information on healthy eating for your child.
Know your school
Help your child get to know the school environment and routine by:
- driving past and walking around the school, especially during school hours, so that your child gets used to the number of children, and their movements within the school grounds. Make sure you let school staff in the office know if you are walking around inside the school grounds.
- asking the school what equipment and materials your child needs, like a school bag, library bag or hat. Most schools will provide a list. Make sure all possessions are labelled with your child’s name.
Before their first day, your child should know how to easily find their classroom and where to:
- put their things, like school bag and hat
- have their lunch breaks
- meet you each day when school is finished
- go for before and after school care if needed.
Contact your school for more information.
Get involved with your school
Help your child get a great start to their education. Take an interest in their schooling, be positive about it, and let them know it’s important to attend.
Help your new Prep teacher get to know your child. Provide your child's kindergarten transition statement and talk to the teacher about:
- your child's interests
- how your child learns
- your goals for your child.
Get involved with their school by:
- meeting the teacher
- attending school events with your child, such as transition programs and open day events
- informing the teacher of any changes affecting your child
- talking to other parents
- volunteering (e.g. in the tuckshop)
- reading school newsletters and bulletin boards
- attending school events like parent association meetings, fetes, open days or sporting carnivals.
Family activities at home
You can also help your child’s progress at school by doing family activities including:
- reading aloud (this develops concentration and awareness of language patterns) and writing with them (e.g. shopping lists and letters)
- stimulating their imagination and natural curiosity (e.g. visiting a zoo, park or airport)
- playing sports, card or board games help develop mathematical, problem solving, language and social skills
- shopping, walking or gardening together
- singing songs and nursery rhymes together.