Preparing for the First Year of School

When a child starts school, it is a wonderful experience for the whole family. It is a time of great excitement, however, the change can also result in challenges and some stress (for everyone!) 

We all make ‘transitions’ in our lives. We move house, take up new jobs, change friendship groups and go into new environments. Sometimes we feel confident about these new changes; sometimes we are anxious about how we may be viewed by others and how we will fit in. Each child responds differently to change and each child will deal differently with the transition to prep or a new school. Supporting them and being engaged in their education is vital to making a smooth and happy start.

Families will likely experience many adjustments in the first few weeks of school, and this is when family routines, appropriate bedtimes, healthy meals and clear behaviour expectations are beneficial. Making time to talk to your child about their day is also important, as it will give you an insight into what they are doing and how they are managing the transition. 

The first day of school each year is always a whirlwind and organisation is the key. Remember to allow extra time in the morning for photos and the phone calls from extended family. Make the journey to school positive and ensure everyone is aware of drop off and pick up locations. With so many new things to learn, school is exhausting, so a nutritious snack after school and some down time will be in order. Most importantly, celebrate as a family. The first day of prep or the first day in a new school is a huge milestone. To all our prep students beginning in Catholic schools across the Diocese– it is a wondrous time for you. It is extraordinary for your teachers and your parents. It is a year of ‘firsts’ and watching you experience so many new things never gets old and creates a sense of wonder and awe. Our schools are excited to welcome you and eager to witness all that you learn and achieve this year. And to all parents, become involved in your child’s school – they will love that you do! 

There are some practical ways you can help your child to begin the school year:
  • TALK to your child about what they think about starting prep or at a new school.
  • VISIT the school with your child so they are familiar with the surroundings.
  • CATCH UP with children going to the same school if possible, so they can get to know each other before the first day.
  • ENCOURAGE independence with dressing and putting on shoes, packing school bags, using a lunch box and drink bottle etc.
  • CONVERSE casually about this next step in their life and share positive memories about your own school experience with your child.