Children who have a positive start to school are likely to engage and experience ongoing academic and social success.
Starting school is a significant event in the life of children and their families. Strong relationships and information sharing between families, early childhood settings and schools help support a child's successful transition to school.
In the following video, 'Transition to school' (1 min 20 sec) we listen to what a young girl is looking forward to as she prepares to start Kindergarten.
When to start
Children can start Kindergarten at the beginning of the school year if they turn 5 on or before 31 July that year. By law, all children must be in compulsory schooling by their 6th birthday.
When your child starts school is an individual decision. You may wish to discuss this with your child's preschool teacher, carer, doctor or your local primary school. Our teachers are trained to work with your child regardless of their age or level of development.
Children develop at different rates and learn skills in different ways. Your school will respond to the needs, learning styles and rates of progress of individual students. Schools also plan learning experiences based on the skills students bring with them to school.
Most schools have orientation days towards the end of the year to welcome children starting Kindergarten the following year. Many schools also have transition to Kindergarten programs over several weeks in the second half of the year. Contact your local school for details.
The school year starts in late January, after the summer vacation period. The school calendar lists school term dates.
Preparing your child
You can do a lot to help prepare your child for Kindergarten before their big 'first day'. The following skills are useful for children starting Kindergarten. Everyone develops at a different pace so this is only a guide and not all children will have these skills.
- talks to other people about familiar objects and events
- answers and asks simple questions
- makes needs known
- follows simple instructions
- uses books for enjoyment or for looking at pictures
- identifies pictures in books, magazines, on television or video
- uses a variety of things (pens, pencils, textas, paintbrushes, sticks in the dirt) to draw, to scribble or to write
- joins in singing familiar songs
- recognises that numbers can be used to count
- uses words and phrases such as many, a lot, more, less
- identifies things in a group that are different
- sees differences in shapes
- differentiates between opposites – up and down, under and over, in front and behind, day and night
- uses the toilet independently
- can say own name and address
- adapts to unfamiliar settings and new experiences
- can finish a task and tidies up afterwards
- plays cooperatively with other children – shares and takes turns
- can sit still to listen to a story for a few minutes
- is curious about the world
- can share an adult's attention with several other children
- participates in imaginative play
- uses scissors to cut along a straight line
- enjoys a variety of indoor and outdoor play
- can put on and take off jumpers, shoes and socks independently
- makes and designs things using a variety of materials
The following resources may be helpful in getting your child ready to start school.
- Getting ready for school series:
- NSW Foundation Style writing guide (PDF 116.46 KB)
- A Special Place (PDF 14071.75 KB) – a picture book to read with the child starting Kindergarten.
For additional resources and information about starting Kindergarten, visit preschool – starting school.