Expert tips for parents with children going into kindergarten

Kindy teachers have tips for making the first day at big school a relaxed one.

Dad preparing lunchbox with his kindergarten child Dad preparing lunchbox with his kindergarten child
Image: Excitement is building as the kindie class of 2024 prepares for the first day of school

Starting school is a big milestone for children and their families.

In the lead-up to children entering Kindergarten in the next fortnight, families can help them prepare for this important transition.

Are you ready for the 2024 school year? Check out our back to school video story here.

Education Secretary Murat Dizdar said more than 63,000 students will start Kindergarten in NSW public schools in 2024.

“Starting school is a rite of passage and a key transition point in education,” Mr Dizdar said.

“Every student, parent and teacher will remember what their first day of school was like and it’s our goal to create these same memorable experiences for today’s students.

“It’s really important that our youngest students feel supported by their school, their teachers and families, so they have a positive start to school and are ready and eager to learn.

“I want the Kindergarten class of 2024 to have a world-class education and our parents and carers to know that the profession that creates all other professions takes the responsibility of educating the whole child extremely seriously.”

Here are some useful tips for parents preparing their children for ‘big school’, provided by Kindergarten teacher Yue Zhu, from Denistone East Public School, and Nicholson St Public School Assistant Principal Lucy Norrish.

You can also check out our back-to-school information and video here.

Learn how to dress independently

Get your child to practise putting on and taking off school shoes, socks, jumpers and raincoats independently.

Using lunchboxes

Have some fun picnics before school starts where your kids can practise opening and closing their lunch boxes and the various containers that require the skills of twisting, turning and pulling. Once school starts, provide lots of easy to open snacks and healthy food you know your child will eat.

Packing and carrying the school bag

Familiarise your child with their school bag. There is no need to buy the biggest bag because it will put a strain on their back. An overloaded bag can also mean kids pull out everything in their bag just to get to their lunchboxes.

Practising social skills

Give your child plenty of opportunities to have cooperative play with other children. Practise sharing and taking turns and discuss how their own behaviour can affect others.

Good hygiene behaviours

Have discussions on how to use the toilet safely and appropriately and the importance of asking a teacher before they go. Make sure your child knows to always flush the toilet and wash their hands afterwards. Pack a spare pair of undies in the school bag, just in case.

Fine motor and gross motor skills

Practise using scissors safely and holding them correctly. Practise holding a pencil with control and encourage your child to hold it with the correct grip. Encourage your child to participate in a variety of indoor and outdoor play and activities that foster balance and coordination.

Practise writing their first name

Children entering Kindergarten can practise writing their first name with a beginning capital letter and lowercase letters for the remainder. One of the biggest challenges for Kindergarten teachers is to ‘unteach’ the incorrect habit of capital letters in names.

Read with your child

Schools encourage parents to read with their children every day for 15 minutes. This helps children practise sitting still and listening. When you finish reading, ask your child questions about the stories, like ‘What happened?’ ‘What was your favourite part?’ Children who enjoy books are usually more eager to learn to read on their own.

The numbers’ game

Practise simple counting at home and if children are ready for it, practise counting backwards. Give your child opportunities to practise identifying numbers from one to 10 and count out corresponding amounts of objects.

Encourage student advocacy

Reassure your child that it’s OK to tell the teacher and other school staff what they need and how they are feeling. Young children can get so excited – or nervous – that they have finally made it to ‘big school’ that they forget to advocate for themselves.

Top 10 tips for starting Kindergarten

  1. Walk or drive past the school regularly before school starts and be positive

  2. Remind children they will go to school each weekday, not just on the first day

  3. Embed routines in the summer holidays like getting up on time

  4. Practise how to dress independently – uniform, socks and school shoes

  5. Don’t overload the school bag

  6. Pack a healthy lunchbox with lots of easy to open snacks and a water bottle

  7. Practise social skills and ask open-ended questions

  8. Explain hygiene behaviours and practise going to the toilet

  9. Reassure your child it’s OK to tell the teacher what they need and how they feel

  10. Read with your child for 15 minutes every day.

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