How to get set for 'big school'

OFF THEY GO: Starting kindergarten or prep is a milestone in every child's life and parents can help to make it easier. Photo: Shutterstock
OFF THEY GO: Starting kindergarten or prep is a milestone in every child's life and parents can help to make it easier. Photo: Shutterstock

Starting "big school" is one of life's important milestones. And it's one that can be a joy or a nightmare, depending on how it is handled.

Education experts say children who have a positive start to school are likely to engage and experience ongoing academic and social success.

Children can start kindergarten or prep at the beginning of the school year if they turn five on or before July 31 of that year. By law, all children must be in compulsory schooling by their sixth birthday.

When your child starts school is an individual decision. You may wish to discuss this with your child's preschool teacher, carer, doctor or your local primary school.

Teachers will tell you that children develop at different rates and learn skills in different ways.

The school you choose for your child school will respond to the needs, learning styles and rates of progress of individual students.

Most schools have orientation days towards the end of the year to welcome children starting kindergarten/prep the following year. Many also have transition to school programs over several weeks in the second half of the year.

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following organisations. Click the links to find out more.

According to the Department of Education you can do a lot to help prepare your child for 'big school' before the big day. If your child attends preschool or a long day care centre you can start by talking to staff about their transition to school.

You should also take your child to your local community health nurse or doctor for a health check and make sure their immunisations are up to date.

Practise safely walking or travelling to and from school with your child and make sure they can use the toilet independently - including urinals for boys.

Education experts advise that you should continue reading to your child and check out the local library so they can choose some books to borrow themselves.

Other things you could do include organising a picnic with a packed lunch and encouraging your child to open it and eat the food by themselves. They could also practise drinking from a bubbler, putting on their school shoes and dressing in their uniform.

Let your child practise reading by themselves and writing the alphabet as well as cutting and pasting and drawing pictures.