The majority of students starting Kindergarten are happy to do so, especially if they have been involved in their new school’s orientation or transition program. This program is set up primarily to familiarise your child to their new surroundings, some of the routines they will be expected to follow and to introduce them to potential new friends. These programs give your child confidence about the school which they will be attending.
It is, more often than not, the parents who ‘freak out’ about the changes that are coming to their child’s life, so the calmer and more positive you are, the calmer and more positive your child will be!
There are a few tips that can help you adopt this demeanour and the most important one is to be organised before the big day.
This includes orientating yourself to the school and knowing things like school layout, staff, programs on offer, starting and finishing times (especially for Kindergarten students as this often differs), expectations of food and drink, and behaviour, uniforms, bags, expenses for things like school excursions and voluntary contributions, before and after-school care on offer, etc.
The NSW DET has a comprehensive guide for new parents called Time to Start School. It can be found on their website, but more specifically at:
In this guide, you will find information about:
- preparing for school including enrolling, school practice and orientation days, making new friends and getting to and from school safely
- a typical school day including timetables, attendance and what to do if your child is sick
- ways to reinforce your child’s learning in language, maths, physical and interpersonal skills
- diet and health including breakfast, lunch, allergies and sun protection
They also include a handy ‘Ready for School Checklist’ (wish I knew about that one when my own kids started school…I’m a bit of a checklist girl!)
The biggest things that kids get excited about when starting Kindergarten are school uniform, school bags and lunchboxes.
In terms of school uniform, each school will advise you about their designs, but keep in mind that most schools have a summer uniform, a winter uniform and a sport uniform (and this includes shoes to match). Most schools also have a specified school hat, which is worn with all uniforms. A lot of people advise you to buy uniforms in one size larger than normal, to allow for growth. This is more a cost-saving measure I believe and not something that I adhered to. I bought each of my children new clothes as they needed them (mostly at the beginning of each new school year) but ensured that what they had they looked after because, as we all know, “money does not grow on trees” (thanks for teaching me that one, Mum). It really does depend on your financial status. In terms of uniform needs, you may also find that your child needs a paint shirt (usually an old adult-sized t-shirt will suffice) and a raincoat.
Most schools have a school uniform shop on site, where you can purchase new or good quality second-hand gear. Or they can advise you as to which local retailer will cater for your needs.
School bags are more personal. My kids never wanted the school-design bag until they were older (a Spiderman bag was so much cooler!) but most schools do offer these for ease of choice. You will also find that, in most cases, you’ll need a school bag to carry the every-day stuff in, and a library bag to care for those precious books.
My advice with lunch-boxes is the same; it’s a personal choice about what works best for your child. But I will say that it is much easier to have two separate boxes, a small one for recess (or ‘little lunch’) and a slightly bigger one for lunch (or ‘big lunch’). Drink bottles are optional because most schools do offer water from bubblers.
Whatever you decide to do in terms of these three needs, make sure your write your child’s name on EVERYTHING, even shoes!