Cessnock West PS

Group photo of Cessnock West staff
Image: Left to right: Camilla Robertson, Kindergarten Teacher; Ruth Goodwin, Principal; Ann Barry, Assistant Principal ES1/Kindergarten Teacher; Rebecca Hartcher, Kindergarten Teacher

Cessnock West Public School has a strong transition to school program, called Leap into Learning, to support the needs of children coming to school. Traditionally children come to school with their parents for two hours each fortnight from Term 3. They participate in activities and games to become familiar with the school routines, get to know the Kindergarten teachers and develop their confidence about school.

This year due to COVID-19, we have had to look at different ways to connect with our families and students to ensure they have a strong start to school in 2021. Our Kindergarten transition team met to look at how we could support our new students and provide them with the same opportunities as previous years with the current restrictions. We developed a plan which will allow both the children and families to get to know our school and for our school to get to know them as well.

Strategy 1: Preschool visits

This term we started with our Kindergarten transition teacher visiting two preschools each week. During the visit she has conversations with the educators, observes children and reads a story, teaches some rhymes and the children participate in related activities.

Tip

Allocate time for Kindergarten and Learning and Support teachers to have additional visits with preschools to learn more about supporting students with additional needs.

How does this strategy support children, families and educators?

These visits allow the Kindergarten teacher to maintain relationships with the staff at the centres and meet children who will start Kindergarten next year. It allows teachers to get to know the children and their individual needs prior to starting school. Knowing children’s individual needs supports the Kindergarten transition teacher and the Learning and Support Teacher to ensure appropriate supports are in place for students who may have additional needs moving into Kindergarten.

Strategy 2: SeeSaw

Our school uses an app called SeeSaw to connect with families. This year we have created a Kindergarten 2021 group on our SeeSaw platform. Each week Kindergarten teachers post a video on SeeSaw for families to access. Learning packs with activities that support the video, is sent to families the week before the video is uploaded.

The videos include activities such as:

  • stories
  • rhymes
  • fundamental movement skills
  • songs
  • games

Each week an additional video is also posted, providing information about one aspect of our school.

Photos of students work
Image: Examples of learning captured by families and posted on SeeSaw for teachers to see

Tip

Ensuring a strong transition to school for our 2021 Kindergarten students is as important and achievable as ever. Working with children, families and educators is key.

How does this strategy support children, families and educators?

Parents can post questions, comments and photos or videos of their child’s learning for the Kindergarten teachers to see.

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