Having just completed 3 Kindergarten Orientation days for Mr. 4, our second child, I feel ever more ready and prepared as a parent to ensure a smooth transition for Mr. 4 to start school. Even as a second-time kindergarten parent, listening to the principal’s or the teachers’ presentation on the day gave me a nice refresher on how to prepare Mr. 4 for the early weeks at school.
Kindergarten Orientation days are a great way for kids to experience a brief but engaging and fun session at school. It is a small taster for what classroom life will be in the coming year. It is also a great opportunity for parents to see how their child reacts to being at “big school”. Most children seem to enjoy their orientation days, but if your child came out with a negative experience, it is a good time for you to discuss their feelings and any issues they may have had.
Below, I’ve provided some information and what to expect at Orientation days. If for whatever reason, you and your child missed these sessions, hopefully, the below tips and advice would be beneficial for you to get as much information as you can before school starts.
General Information on Kindergarten Orientations
- Kindergarten Orientation Days often start in Term 4 of the school year. After submitting your enrolment forms, be sure to put down your child’s name to attend the Orientation session(s). Depending on the school, there may be one or several sessions.
- Your child will be separated from you for a short time to go into the classroom to do some introductory kindergarten activities. This helps your child to get to know their teacher, classmates, the inside of a classroom as well as learning to be independent from you, and understanding that you will be there waiting for them when the session ends.
- The class that your child is assigned to during orientation may change when school starts. Be sure to let your child know that teachers and classmates can and will change during their time at school. Also, take note of any class changes to ensure a smooth first day at school.
- Best Start Assessment – this is a literacy and numeracy assessment conducted for all Kindergarten students in the first 5 weeks of all NSW public schools since 2010. Teachers will sit with a student individually and administer tasks that will help them gain an understanding of the student’s literacy and numeracy skills. The results will help the teacher obtain a better picture on where each student is developmentally and will allow them to plan their teaching accordingly.
- There’ll be information and reminders on:
- School meals – such as splitting up your child’s meals into 3 lunchboxes for crunch ‘n’ sip, recess and lunch so that kindergarteners are aware of what foods to eat when;
- Uniforms – when and where to purchase uniforms. It is often advised to not leave it til the last minute to buy them. Buy them early to avoid queues but keep the price tags on for exchanges in case your child outgrows their uniform by the time school starts;
- Shopping list – there may be a shopping list given to you so your children can bring some stationery items in the first week of school. Again, it is a good idea to not leave this until too late as often times, stores can also run out of stock;
- Start and finish times – kindergarteners often start school later and finish school earlier than the rest of the school for the first term. This is to ensure that kindergarteners are safely dropped off and picked up without being overwhelmed by the rest of the school rushing around at the same time
- Road Safety – this is an important one as often parents feel rushed in the mornings and ignore road safety rules. Whether you are travelling to school by car or walking, it is vital to learn where the pedestrian crossings are, the different parking zones and safe entry and exit points in and around the school
- Preparatory Reading Materials – you will probably be given some reading materials to read to your child in the lead up to the first day of school. “Getting Ready for School” and “A Special Place” are two resources developed by the NSW Department of Education. It is a wonderful idea to sit down and read these together as they contain very useful information and advice that is tailored for a kindergartener. If you need a copy of these books, you can also find them here.
I hope the above information can be of assistance in helping both you and your child in getting prepared for what is to be expected when school starts. If there is anything I may have missed, please do comment below to let me know.
* Read tips about how to prepare your child for the first day of school here.