Starting school is an exciting milestone for your child and family. All of you will be experiencing changes as your child settles into a new learning environment, develops new friendships, and spends time with new teachers. Sharing in the excitement involves not only recognising that change can be something to look forward to, but also acknowledging it is okay to have mixed emotions about leaving early learning and starting school. Some children may be ready to transition to school and do so happily with little support, while others may need more support, guidance and reassurance. The transition to school is different for each child.
Preparing your child for their transition to school prepares them for future learning and development. Our Kids College curriculum and the Early years Learning Framework are geared towards children gaining the academic and social skills they will need at primary school and beyond. We feel we have done our job when we send children to school happy, excited and ready to embrace the next stage in their learning journey.
When do children start Kindy in Western Australia?
If your child turns 4 years old by the 30 June of that school year they are eligible for school Kindy or a childcare based Kindy. In their Kindy year it is each family’s choice how they choose to do Kindy, either at a school or a childcare. Usually, school Kindy has two sets days and an alternate day. Kids College Kindy offer whatever combination of days that suits your family’s schedule and needs.
When do children start Preschool in Western Australia?
The year when they turn 5 years old by 30 June, they need to start the first year of compulsory school program called Preschool. During their preschool year they attend a school for six hours per day five days per week usually from around 8:30am till 3pm.
Before and after school care and school holidays
Plan for before and after school care and vacation care if you need it. Consider in advance how you will manage your family’s routine and work arrangements during the school term. If you will need out of school hours care. Will you need it during the term, on pupil free days and/or during school holidays? It’s good to discuss these new arrangements and routines with your child in advance to prepare and support their transition to school and new before and after school service. Your child’s school can provide more information on local services that may suit your child and family.
How do I know if my child is ready for school?
Being school ready is not dependent on whether your child can read and write. Being school ready is about the whole child. When deciding on the right time for your child to start school, it’s important to consider a range of factors, including your child’s age, emotional maturity, language skills, social skills, physical wellbeing and their ability to undertake simple self-help tasks independently.
At Kids College your child will get their portfolio with their Statements of Achievements reports covering their specific learning journey all through their years with us so you and our educators know your child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development and we can
You can also speak with the principal of the school your child may attend. Most schools support your child as they transition to school, through an orientation program, made up of visits to the school and spending time with the kindy teachers and other children.
What if you feel like your child is not ready for big school
Always remember that school-ready skills are a guide. Children develop differently and may be better in some areas than others. This is totally normal and does not mean he/she is not ready for school. If you believe your child is struggling in a particular area, talk with educators to see if we can help. It may just mean your child needs some extra help mastering a particular skill. Talk about your child with those who know your child best, including educators, other family members and (if applicable) your child’s regular Doctor.
There are many reasons why families delay the transition to school. They most commonly relate to disruption or trauma during childhood, support for disability or developmental needs, or time to develop stronger social and emotional skills. In all cases, the transition to school is a collaborative discussion and approach between families, educators and other professionals in the child’s life, with the best interests of the child at the centre.
Internationally, there is ongoing research about the right time for children to transition to school. You may be interested in this article from The Conversation on delayed school entry in Australia, and this article exploring education in Finland, where the age for compulsory schooling is seven.
Getting your Child Ready for “Big School.”
It is a big step for children and their families when they leave childcare for primary school. Many families ask “is my child ready for school?” This is a normal question. While there are no formal requirements for a child to have before entering school (at least for public schools, private schools may differ) consider the following questions:
- Is my child able to understand what others say?
- Is my child able to be understood by others?
- Is my child able to do basic self-care activities? (feed themselves, dress themselves, go to the bathroom unaided)
- Is my child sociable?
- Is my child able to be engaged in the same activity for more than 15 minutes?
- Is my child able to follow directions?
Skills that may help your child transition easily into the school environment include:
- The ability to pay attention for extended periods
- The ability to focus on and complete assigned tasks
- The ability to work with rules and regulations
- The ability to work independently
Talk to your child about the transition
Talking to your child is the best way to prepare a child for this transition. It is important to talk with your child about their new school and reassure them that if they are leaving friends behind at childcare, or their friends will be attending different schools, that they can still see each other on weekends etc and that new friends can be made at school. Talk openly about school and tell them stories about your most enjoyable times at school.
How to support your child’s development for school readiness?
If you believe your child is ready for school, you can support your child in the development of these skills by spending some time on the following activities before he/she starts school:
- Reading is a great way of increasing your child’s attention span. Take cues from your child as to how long he/she can pay attention. In the beginning, teachers may expect a child to attend a group activity for about 20 minutes and by the end of the first year this will increase to around 40 minutes.
- Reading will help your child in other ways including word pronunciation and association. Pick out different things in a book each time you read it to talk about with your child.
- Introducing your child to new experiences for example attend a children’s play or visit your local museum. Provide guidelines so your child knows when it is appropriate to talk, go to the toilet and when he/she has to wait for their turn.
- Giving your child responsibilities at home. Start assigning chores for your child to complete independently such as setting the table, helping with the laundry or unloading items from the dishwasher.
- Practice Writing – encourage your child to write new words, copy letters and numbers and draw pictures.
- Playing games with your child involving numbers and show your child how these skills are used in the real world, for example weigh the fruit when you go grocery shopping, counting the number of items in your trolley.
- Playing games involving letters. If English is your or your child’s second language, this can also be helpful in their home language.
- Practice using the family computer or take your child to your local library and show your child some basic functions.
- Building your child’s co-operation and team skills by playing games that involve taking turns.
- Playing school games with your child, pretend you are calling the roll, try on his/her uniform, write some pretend lessons up on a blackboard at home or practice writing in a notebook.
- Encouraging your child to talk about his/her daily experiences with you. Ask lots of questions and keep the conversation flowing.
- Offer your child every opportunity to build skills that enhance his or her readiness for school and at the same time keep it fun.
What to do just before the big day when they start their school career?
Speak with your child about the change in their daily routine, how will they get to school, what time they have to get up in the morning and what they will have in their lunch box.
Visit the school with your child before they start so they’re familiar with the classrooms, playground equipment, bubblers, toilets, sick bay etc.
Meet the teachers that may be working with your child and speak about them positively to your child
Tell your child about support systems that the school offers e.g. if there is a buddy system where an older child supports your child in their first year of school
Be involved in your child’s school community e.g. participating in playgroups, orientation days
or other social gatherings like school fetes and welcome barbecues
Attend school events such as the book week parade, an assembly or school concert
Develop good relationships with other parents, especially other parents of your child’s friends
Establish good attendance patterns for your child
Develop family routines at home to support your child’s learning at school e.g. read with your child each night, help them with any homework etc.
How does Kids College help support your child’s transition to school?
Both you and your child’s educator at Kids College play a significant role in supporting a successful transition to school. It’s important that your child’s individual needs are considered carefully to ensure that the transition process is positive and effective. Our connections over the years helps this process and allows us to accurately gauge and guide your child’s reactions to big school.
There are a range of transition to school experiences to support children transitioning to school. We use the strategies above and in addition support your child with specific other tasks. Our favourite is the book we make to show children the similarities and the differences between Kids College and school. Some other examples include:
- Talking to children about school, and encouraging them to ask questions or voice their concerns
- Reading stories about starting school
- Including school props, such as uniforms, bags, lunch boxes, and chalk boards in dramatic play areas
- Support children to develop their self-help and social skills through every day routine activities such as meal times when children will practice using lunch boxes and drink bottles
- Providing literacy items such as reading and writing materials in everyday play activities
How do I help my child settle at school when the start of the year comes?
The following suggestions may help you to support your child to settle comfortably and confidently into school:
- Say goodbye confidently – saying a quick, confident goodbye may help them to feel secure and reassured that you trust that they will be okay at school.
- Label your child’s belongings – labelling everything, including clothing, can help reduce anxiety for children, school staff and yourself. At school, children are responsible for their belongings and labels can help them with this.
- Communicate with your child – take time to tell your child what might be happening at school that day, and in the afternoon, ask your child about their day. This is a great way to build confidence, and to find out how they are feeling as they settle in. If you have any concerns talk with your child’s teacher, who will provide further insight to their day.
- Avoid overloading your child – when children begin school, they tire easily. It may be worth considering fewer extracurricular activities such as swimming, music or dance lessons, until they adjust to their new routine.
What’s does a positive transition to school look like?
What does success look like? Children who have transitioned successfully:
- have a positive approach to school
- are excited to learn
- have a positive sense of identity and culture
- feel respected and safe
- have a sense of belonging
- can see connections between their school, home and community.
Kids College pathway to school readiness
It is our aim to consolidate the goals we have covered through all their years at Kids College and send our children off to begin their journey into big school as confident, happy learners who enjoy their time at school, are eager to learn, with values that will stand them in good stead for the whole of their lives.
At Kids College we have specialised programs for learning in all age groups. No matter when your child starts with us, they progress through the developmentally appropriate goals. Our Kids College children graduate through each of our programs as they are ready for the next step in their learning journey. School readiness actually builds from the foundations we set in our younger age groups.
We have a Babies room Discoverers program, a two year old’s Toddlers Explorers program, a three year old’s Kindy Adventurers program and a four year old’s Imagineers program.
Our aim is not to rush children through their stages but to build really age-appropriate opportunities to embed that knowledge and learning. Each age group program at Kids College is designed to build on from the previous year creating a solid educational base in the most important years of your child’s life. Kids College provides the best early childhood education for our precious children.
Kids College has incorporated the Australian Governments National Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) outlining early childhood education which aims to provide all our Australian children with high quality early childhood education whether in school or childcare.
We further strengthen their learning with our unique educational program for each of our age groups.
Our own Kids College Early Learning Curriculum programme for a diverse range of developmental areas including:- Multicultural Diversity & Inclusion Program; Personal, Social & Emotional Program; Healthy Living Program; Sports & Gross Motor Program; Communication, Language & Literacy Program; Problem Solving, Reasoning & Numeracy; Knowledge & Understanding of the World Program; Creative & Art Development Program.
Social skills and emotional intelligence are our area of speciality and form a very valuable base to our educational structure, and we aim to embed these concepts clearly to assist the children going into their schooling years. This becomes especially important just before our little ones start big school. The ability to be away from their family, be part of a group, and make friends are some essential components of our Kindy programme. These skills are actually quite hard to learn, and we guide our children through the steps ensuring they get the very best out of their days with us.
Kids College 4 year old Imagineers program
Our program is designed to be customised for each of our children to best prepare them for their start to big school the next year. In our 4 year Kindy programme we focus on that last step towards school readiness. We work in conjunction with other Kindy programs and stand-alone if the child attends only our Kindy. This program is ideal for our little people who have grown up at Kids College and allows for a gentler introduction to school with our specific program of school readiness tailored to individual needs.
Our Imagineers program is led by qualified early childhood teachers and overseen by our Manager and Early Childhood Teacher Jennifer. Our four-year Kindy class is limited to just ten children to ensure you child gets the very best quality early learning in this important year preparing them for school.
What about before and after school care?
Kids College runs a before and after school care service for children at Springfield primary. We run a specific school age children educational program of learning, the My Time Our Place curriculum that builds on to the Early Years Learning Framework for our younger age groups.
What about vacation care for school holidays?
Kids College also offer vacation care program during school holidays also using the specific school age children educational program of learning, the My Time Our Place curriculum that builds on to the Early Years Learning Framework for our younger age groups
Kids College Philosophy
“Our unique Kids College curriculum and the Early Years Learning Framework builds on each child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests to ensure all aspects of our program maximize learning opportunities for each child.”
“We celebrate not just the end goals to learning but we celebrate the enjoyment and ‘distance’ travelled in getting there, making the most of those precious teachable moments.”
“We enjoy moments together, making memories and setting down the groundwork for a lifelong love and passion for learning.”
National Quality Standard
1.1.1 Approved learning framework Curriculum decision making contributes to each child’s learning and development outcomes in relation to their identity, connection with community, wellbeing, confidence as learners and effectiveness as communicators.
1.3.1 Assessment and planning cycle. Each child’s learning and development is assessed or evaluated as part of an ongoing cycle of observation, analysing learning, documentation, planning, implementation and reflection.
6.2.1 Transitions. Continuity of learning and transitions for each child are supported by sharing information and clarifying responsibilities.
KIDS COLLEGE FAMILY
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on Jennifer@kidscollege.com.au
With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family