Be Prepared To Get The Most Out Of Your Child’s School Transition Arrangements

Starting school is an important milestone in any child and family’s life. With this in mind most schools offer some form of information or orientation sessions and preschool workshops. Being prepared for these is the key to getting the most out of what is on offer.

Information and Orientation sessions give an opportunity for everyone to meet each other and form an important part of the transition process.

Schools will provide families with an information pack but it is useful to have a list of questions in mind when attending sessions just in case they are not covered. 

Our suggestions

Who are the adults that my child will come in contact with? 
Does the school provide a ‘My School’ booklet for new children and does this contain photos of staff with their names?
Can we visit the classroom before the summer holidays? Some run preschool workshops in the classroom.
Does my child’s class have a designated playground and how much of the day is spent with access to outside areas?
What are the daily routines? Are bells rung and are they loud?
What are the drop off and pick up times?
What routines does the school have in place to ensure safe pickups? These may include passwords and children waiting until their name is called.
Is there a school uniform? Where can it be bought from? Are there second hand options available and what type of shoes are allowed?
What does my child need for PE?
What else should I send my child to school with? Most schools like children to bring in a book bag. Toys, drinks and snacks varies from school to school.
What systems of communicating with staff are in place? Are there designated times of the day when teachers will be available for parents to pop in and discuss concerns. For routine messages there may be a home/school book that goes home with the child and allows for two-way communication.
Does school operate a staggered entry system and how does this work? A staggered entry system means that all of the children do not arrive at school at the same time in these initial stages. Children are given a time and date to start and help to ensure that they come into a calm environment. Time spent at school may be built up gradually which allows the best possible start for all children.

Pre-school workshops 

For your child these provide a great opportunity for
Staff to get to know them
Meeting other children starting at the same time
Familiarising themselves with the new environment
Practising skills they will need at school which may include completing a table-top activity, tidying up, sitting and listening to a story
 
As a parent you may wish to consider using this time to
Arrange play dates with other children that will be in the same class.
Notice things in the classroom environment that may form later discussions with children such as cloakroom organisation (shoes, PE kit and lunch boxes), toilet and hand washing facilities).
If available your child can try on uniform samples for sizing before ordering.
Chat to the class teacher about any particular needs your child may have or arrange an appointment to share further information.

As parents you can make a big difference in helping to prepare your child for school. Talk with your child in a positive way about attending these sessions and…..have FUN!