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Starting early education

What to expect when you're preparing to enrol

It’s normal for both you and your child to feel excited and nervous before they start preschool. Many services offer orientation days you can attend together, and meeting the teachers and educators at your service may help you both feel more comfortable. It’s always a good idea to talk to your child about what they might see and do there before the big day.

There are a variety of resources where you can find further information about getting prepared for early education. A Welcome to Preschool guide for families includes helpful hints from early childhood teachers and other parents. The guide covers tips about what to pack in their bag, allergies and health issues, and other practical advice.

Feedback from families

There are lots of different reasons why families enrol their children in early childhood education. For some it is to socialise and play, while others may want their children to have more opportunities to practise speaking English. The department’s Children Starting Strong video series helps parents to learn more about the different opportunities in early childhood education.

Each child has their own unique experiences of attending a service. We spoke to parents across NSW for the Families Research project, who shared some of their favourite things about early childhood education.

  • “…it’s nice to see them come home and be proud that they have learnt something new…”
  • “I just want to make sure my child is learning all the things that they should learn at that age… I think it’s really important that they have a formal process for learning or education.”
  • “I think it’s important because children need to be around other children. It’s not good for them to be with adults all the time. It has to be fun. Like a good childcare centre will have educational and fun things to do for the kids.”
  • “...you know that they’re going to have a good time and there’s plenty of fun things to do that are educational as well.”

Additional resources

ACEQCA’s Starting Blocks website also contains factsheets for parents and families on:

  • Choosing the right service for your child
  • Preparing for child care
  • Building strong links between home and child care services
  • National Quality Framework – how can it help me?
  • Your first step into early childhood education and care – poster
  • Your first step into early childhood education and care – brochure

Many of the above resources are also available in other languages on the Translated resources page.

More tips on how to have a positive start to preschool, such as having a “waving goodbye routine”, are available on the Commonwealth Government’s Australian parenting website Raising Children and the Early Childhood Australia website.

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