Preparing for preschool
A checklist for parents and carers including what should be done before your child starts preschool and what they'll need on their first day.
Your child may display behaviours or feelings that show they are nervous about their first day.
Visiting the service and getting to know the educators is a good way to prepare your child so they can become familiar with the environment and new routines.
Talking about the service in a positive way and reading books about starting preschool are other great ways to help your child feel safe and excited.
Checklist: what your child needs
Make sure your child has these items for their first day:
a lunch box and food unless your service provides meals
a drink bottle
a change of clothes, including socks and underwear
a sheet and/or blanket for rest time.
Clearly label all your child’s items such as their clothes, bag and drink bottle. However, for safety and privacy reasons make sure your child’s name is not visible on the outside of anything they’ll be wearing to and from their service.
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. You will also be able to meet the other members of the preschool team.
The service will have 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, department 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 policies and procedures, talk to the preschool teacher.
Allergies, health conditions and additional needs
Before your child starts, it’s important to let the educators know if your child has any allergies, health conditions, disability or any additional learning and support needs. This will give the educators time to make any necessary arrangements for your child.
Anaphylaxis is a severe and sudden allergic reaction to certain allergens, such as nuts, shellfish, or insect bites. You must let the educators know if your child is allergic to foods or is at risk of anaphylaxis.
Make sure your child’s immunisation schedule is up to date. Your child cannot be enrolled unless they:
- are fully vaccinated for their age
- have a medical reason not to be vaccinated
- are on a recognised vaccination catch-up schedule.
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 shoes they can play and climb in.
While educators 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. SunSmart recommends children wear a broad-brim, bucket or legionnaire hat that shades the face, neck, eyes and ears. Encourage your child to get used to wearing a hat when they are outside.
You may know that your child needs extra help to develop new skills or has not yet met some of the milestones for their age.
There is help available to guide you through the process of assessing your child’s developmental needs and you may want to find out more about early intervention.
Early intervention services are a form of specialised support for young children who have a disability or additional learning needs and their families.
If you aren’t sure what kind of support your child might need, start by contacting a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) early childhood partner.
Visit the NDIS website for more information.
Our 'Getting ready for preschool guide' translated in Arabic, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Vietnamese.
- NSW Department of Education 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 early childhood education information tips and resources to help you and your child get ready for early childhood education are available in many languages.
- Translated school information - Department of Education inform/content/main-education/en/home/schooling/parents-and-carers/inclusive-learning-support1.htmlation is available in many languages.
- Disability, learning and support - Find out how your child with disability or additional needs can be supported.
Other useful websites
- Aboriginal Education Consultative Group - a non-profit Aboriginal organisation that provides advice on all matters relevant to education and training.
- Early childhood education finder - for families looking for early childhood education and care services near their home, workplace or other location.
- Early childhood Australia – a voice for young children.
- Immunisation - information and advice on the National Immunisation Program.
- Kids and Traffic - how to keep children safe on and around roads.
- The Raising Children Network - provides ad-free parenting videos, articles and apps backed by Australian experts.
- Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia – find general information on anaphylaxis and allergy support for your child.