Transition to school: Information for parents and carers

This web page provides information and resources for parents and carers to help them support their children transition to primary school.

The importance of a positive start to school

Starting school is a big change for your child and family. You may feel many emotions, being both excited and nervous about this new step in your child’s life.

A positive start to school helps your child’s learning and development and allows them to feel secure, confident and connected in their new environment. Research shows that when children feel successful in their transition to school, this leads to better learning and wellbeing outcomes, both in a child’s school life and beyond.

What is my role in the transition process?

Families play an important role in the transition to school process. You know your child well and can help them feel confident and ready to start school.

You can help your child to feel more comfortable by:

  1. Connecting with your early childhood and care (ECEC) service.
  2. Connecting with your new school and Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) service.
  3. Engaging in positive conversations and activities with your child about their new school.

Where should I start?

Find a school

Three tips to support your child

Participating in transition to school programs and activities in early childhood education and care will help you and your child more easily adjust to new routines and get a better understanding of what school will be like. Services will be adjusting transition to school activities in light of disruptions due to COVID-19.

Here are some things you could ask your service:

  • Ask about what transition supports they have available.
  • Ask your service whether they will be completing a Transition to School Statement for your child.
    • The Transition to School Statement is completed by a child's early childhood educator and is sent to their new school. The Statement makes it easier to share information between you, your child's ECEC service and their future school.
    • The Statement summarises a child's strengths, interests and approaches to learning and helps link the Early Years Learning Framework to the Early Stage 1 Syllabus
    • The importance of transition is reflected in the National Quality Standard (NQS). The standards require early childhood education services to collaborate with service providers and families to achieve quality outcomes for children. It also recognises that continuity of learning is supported by the sharing of information.
    • Provide information about your child's learning and development at home to your early education service so they can include this in the Statement.
  • If your child has not been attending their ECEC service recently, are there any things that have worked for your child at home or concerns you would like to discuss? Communicate this to your ECEC service.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools may choose not hold face-to-face information or orientation sessions. However, there are still many safe ways you can engage with your child’s new school virtually. Contact your child's school for more information.

Here are some things you may want to ask your new school:

  • What types of learning support are available?
  • What information and orientation sessions are available?
  • Whether you can arrange an online meeting with the Principal or Kindergarten teacher
  • Are there any videos of the school that you can show your child?
  • Are there any outside school hours care (OSHC) options available onsite at school or offsite and what transport options are available?

Useful resources

  • Check out the page on starting school to find out more about when to start school and Orientation Days

Here are some practical ideas to support your child when having conversations about starting school.

Feeling safe

To help your child feel safe, talk about:

  • it is normal to have mixed emotions, such as being both excited and worried
  • reinforce good hygiene practices
  • focus on the positives, reassure your child that it is safe to attend school.

Talk about school

Talking with your child about their first few days at school is one way to support them. Talk about:

  • what their first day may look like
  • friends they will meet
  • how they will get to and from school safely.

New routines

Talk with your child about the new schedules of school life. Talk about:

  • upcoming changes in morning and night routines
  • what they are looking forward to and what they worry about
  • what will make their transition back to school easier and see if this can be accommodated by your child’s new school
  • teaching them who to ask when they need help

Useful resources:

  • Daisy's First Day - The department has produced a special downloadable picture book and animation for you to support your child's transition to primary school.
  • Want more Daisy? You can also download the colouring sheets and cut-out puzzle.
  • Learning packages for parents and carers and resources for families. Check out our learning outcome cards which have been translated into 15 languages. This includes resources for Aboriginal families with an emphasis on culture, connection and community.
  • Have you seen our five-part animation series for families? The animations explore the important role families play in their child’s learning and how this learning supports a child’s lifelong educational journey. You can also learn more about the Early Years Learning Framework, which is used to guide teaching and learning at early childhood services.
  • Watch this Transition to School video, to learn about what a young girl is looking forward to as she prepares to start Kindergarten.
  • Watch Little J & Big Cuz with your child! This is an animated television series made to support a successful home to school transition for First Nations children. The Little J & Big Cuz web page also has some useful tips for getting your child ready for big school.

Tips for children with additional support needs

Students with disability and learning support needs may require additional support as part of a personalised transition program. This includes children without a confirmed diagnosis.

Your child’s learning and support needs could be identified before they start school, or at any point during their schooling. Contact your local school to find out how you can give your child the best start to their education.

Some ideas:

  • Speak to your child’s new school to let the staff know about your child’s additional needs. The ideal time to speak with your local school is two years before your child starts Kindergarten - but it's never too early or too late to start the conversation.
  • Discuss additional support with your child's ECEC services and your local school.
  • As children readjust to the pleasures and challenges associated with school, they may show greater difficulties with emotional regulation and challenging behaviour – remember, this is likely to be part of the readjustment phase and should improve with time.

Useful resources:

  • Check out the Inclusive Learning Support Hub to find out when and how to start the conversation and learn more about education options and support available for your child.
  • A COVID-19 safe orientation visit may be scheduled to orient your child to their new school, meet key staff members and support the development of individual learning plans.
  • For more information or to discuss assessment of your child's needs, call the educational office on 131 536.
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