Kindergarten and preschool orientation and transition
An orientation visit helps children and families familiarise themselves with their new school and staff and helps to form first connections with their school community prior to starting school.
In 2022 schools will follow current department advice – informed by NSW Health – when planning their COVID-safe orientation approach.
Updated 8 November 2021.
This year Kindergarten and preschool orientation and transition will flex around changing COVID-19 advice while still providing those valuable first experiences for our students and families.
The following guidance has been developed to support parents and families with what to expect for orientation visits for students entering Kindergarten and preschool in 2022. These guidelines complement the positive transition strategies that schools already have in place and will vary across the state in response to local area restrictions and NSW Health advice.
Orientation visits to school
For COVID-safe orientation visits to take place on school grounds, parents and carers can expect the following measures to be in place:
- You will receive information prior to the orientation outlining COVID-safe plans on site, including the requirement for parents and carers to show proof of vaccination and wear masks if indoors.
- All students attending the orientation will need to have a completed enrolment form and their forms will have been reviewed by the school.
- Any students with additional learning, health care or behavioural needs will have a risk assessment undertaken by the school to support their orientation.
- One fully vaccinated parent or carer is allowed to join their child on the school site for the orientation experience.
- You can expect to be guided to a clear outdoor meeting place for the orientation and schools will ask each parent and carer to check in, show proof of vaccination status, and use the school check-in code.
- All attendees including parents and carers, students and staff on site will need to be in good health and free of any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Physical distancing will be in place wherever possible and you may be asked to queue on physical distancing markers on the floor while waiting to check in.
- Orientation start times will be staggered to limit the number of people on site and to reduce any queueing required.
- Any indoor components of the orientation will be limited to children and staff only (unless a child has a special need identified in advance of the visit, in which case a fully vaccinated parent or carer may accompany their child for the duration of the orientation).
- Parents and carers who choose not to attend will have an alternative option available to receive information, such as connecting online.
- Cleaning protocols will be in place during and after orientation visits.
When orientation visits are unable to take place onsite, families and carers will still benefit from a remote orientation experience:
- Your school will put processes in place to make sure all students attending in 2022 have a completed enrolment form, which is reviewed by the school prior to school beginning.
- Families will be engaged by schools to develop a risk assessment for any student with additional learning, health care or behavioural needs.
- Parent and carer information will be shared by connecting remotely and ensuring families have COVID-safe ways to meet either the principal or Kindergarten teacher.
- Your school will identify any children who might require a more targeted approach (for example students with additional needs) and offer single families or small groups of children an orientation visit, ensuring any current physical distancing rules are complied with. When available, use Transition to School Statements completed by early childhood educators to learn more about each child’s strengths, interests and approaches to learning.
Students with additional learning needs
Students with disability and learning support needs may require additional support as part of a personalised transition program, including children without a confirmed diagnosis. Additional transition opportunities are available for these students.
- Your school may offer a virtual or phone interview for parents and carers of students with specific needs that the school needs to know more about.
- Meeting with parents, carers or other key adults may be considered an essential meeting that can be held on-site with COVID-safe practices in place.
A planned orientation visit may be scheduled to support students to orient to the school, meet key staff members and support the development of individual learning plans. In these cases, the number of visiting adults should be kept to one adult, which may be the student’s primary teacher, School Learning Support Officer, School Services support (Itinerant teacher) or other essential health care worker.
Next up ➜
Find out what important information you need to provide your school before your child starts Kindergarten.