Preparing for preschool
Find handy hints from early childhood teachers and parents to make it easier for you and your family to get your child ready for preschool.
Checklist: what your child needs
Make sure your child has these items for their first day of school.
- a bag
- a lunch box
- snacks for morning or afternoon tea and a drink
- a change of clothes, including socks and underwear
- a hat
- a sheet and/or blanket for rest time.
Clearly label all of your child’s items such as their clothes, bag and lunch box. There will be a lost property box at the preschool. However, make sure your child’s name is not visible on the outside of anything they’ll be wearing to and from preschool.
Have you met the preschool teacher?
The preschool teacher is an important person to get to know. The teacher will be able to tell you about what happens at preschool and answer any questions that may help your child settle in.
The preschool has a range of policies and procedures to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of all children. These include arrival and departure, food and nutrition, education and sun protection.
For families of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, departmental preschools will have Aboriginal education officers or Aboriginal school learning support officers employed to provide support. Some preschools that are attached to primary schools may have Aboriginal educational officers, who support Aboriginal families in connecting to school. Additionally, there may be Aboriginal community liaison officers based in nearby NSW Department of Education network offices.
If you would like more information on our preschool policies, talk to the preschool teacher.
What must I tell my child's preschool?
Allergies, health conditions and additional needs
Before your child starts preschool, it’s important to let the preschool know if your child has any allergies, health conditions, disability or any additional learning and support needs. This will give the preschool time to make any necessary arrangements for your child.
Support for children with disability or additional learning or support needs is tailored to their needs and may include early intervention classes, resource support and itinerant support teachers.
Make sure your child’s immunisation schedule is up to date. Preschools cannot enrol a child unless they either:
- are fully vaccinated for their age
- have a medical reason not to be vaccinated
- are on a recognised vaccination catch-up schedule.
Care with allergies
Anaphylaxis is a severe and sudden allergic reaction to certain allergens, such as nuts, shellfish, or insect bites. You must let the preschool teacher know if your child is allergic to foods or is at risk of anaphylaxis.
What should my child wear?
Dress your child in comfortable, practical clothes that are safe and easy for them to manage on their own, including sensible shoes for playing and climbing.
While teachers try to avoid children staining their clothes, paint and dirt are all part of having fun and learning.
Children will be expected to wear a hat to play outdoors. Encourage your child to get used to wearing a hat when they are outside.
Download starting school resources
- Preschool enrolment - A guide to enrolling in a NSW Department of Education preschool, including the application process and enrolment interviews.
- Starting early childhood education - Tips and resources to help you and your family get ready for early childhood education.
- Translated school information - Department of Education information is available in many languages.
- Disability, learning and support - NSW public schools support all children with disabilities or learning difficulties, no matter what stage of schooling.
Other useful websites
- Aboriginal Education Consultative Group - A non-profit Aboriginal organisation that provides advice on all matters relevant to education and training with the mandate that this advice represents the Aboriginal community viewpoint.
- Early childhood and childcare - Information for families and providers about the federal government's new childcare package.
- Early childhood Australia - A voice for young children.
- Health - Health NSW.
- Immunisation - The National Immunisation Program.
- Kids and Traffic - An Early Childhood Road Safety Education Program.
- The Raising Children Network - Provides ad-free parenting videos, articles and apps backed by Australian experts.