Oberon Review

Enrolments for 2022Advertising Feature

Preschool is a big stepAdvertising Feature

PREPARE FOR PRESCHOOL: Importantly, preschool develops social and emotional maturity in young children and the ability to relate well to peers and adults. Photo: Shutterstock

PRESCHOOLS are an engaging place for young children to be, but there's a lot more to it than just having fun.

"It has been said that you can teach a three-year-old to cut out with scissors but it may take a while," an early learning teacher Samantha said.

"Show a six-year-old and they will probably master this in a few minutes.

"In other words, preschools aren't just about getting a child ready for big school but also about socialising such as getting on with their peers.

"Also following a daily routine and important rules such as listening to teachers and sitting still when required."

According to preschool research, there are many benefits for children and families to be gained from preschool.

FIRST DAY: The first day of preschool can be an emotional time for kids and their parents. Photo: Shutterstock

It says a preschool experience:

  • Empowers children to think, explore, question, wonder and learn how to learn;
  • Supports children's intellectual and language development and communication skills;
  • Offers children consistent, experienced, qualified educators to support their learning and development;
  • Improves children's ability to think, problem solve and reason as they enter school, enabling them to learn more in the early grades;
  • Develops social and emotional maturity and the ability to relate well to peers and adults, solve conflicts, play cooperatively and be assertive;
  • Provides a solid platform for life-long learning and education;
  • Guides children to gain independence, self-esteem and self-confidence, empowering their learning;
  • Helps children have a greater understanding of the world around them;
  • Encourages children to be independent learners and to take an active role in their learning;
  • Supports children to play cooperatively together and learn from their experiences;
  • Enables children and families the opportunity to belong, to be part of a community, and connect with others.

While providing these benefits to children and their families, preschools are also fun places to be, with varied, exciting experiences planned to meet the needs and interests of children as well as a context to build social connections between families and the community.

It's a source of professional information that supports parenting and places that nurture creativity, thinking and social skills, enabling children to develop a love of learning.

In almost all cases, they are not for profit, with all income from government funding, fees and fundraising re-invested for the benefit of children.

So inquire at your local or preferred preschool today.

Find the right questionsAdvertising Feature

INVITED: Attend a school open day with a list of questions relevant to your family's circumstances, wants and needs. Every list will be different. Photo: Shutterstock

School open days can be exciting, but let's face it, they can also be daunting if you're a parent new to this 'choosing a school' thing.

One thing to know is that it's important to do a bit of preparation before you attend, like creating a list of questions.

To make the most of open days, it is essential to ask questions. It is the perfect opportunity to direct all your queries on every topic of concern to the right person, be it students or staff.

Prospective students and parents need to develop a list of questions relevant to them, and every family's list will be different.

As the name suggests, an open day is when you can meet with the principal and ask questions.

It's when teachers get to showcase their classrooms. It's where senior students act as guides.

"When I checked out our local primary schools, I found it was all about whether we felt comfortable with the staff. They were approachable and personable," the parent of a first-year student, Ben Riley, said.

You can also gather information on what is available to you and your child academically, athletically and more.

First, think about what's most important to you when choosing a school for your child.

Is it academic achievement, is it behaviour management, is it the overall feel of the school, is it the teachers, is it the facilities and resources? It might be a combination of all these things. You get to go behind the scenes as a prospective family.

Come armed with questions

Write down all the things you hope your potential school can deliver. Use these things as a starting point for any essential questions you need to be answered.

Every school will have a handbook covering the essentials of school life. This gives you a good overview of the school and its approach.

However, you may have more questions about the school's teaching philosophy, approach to discipline, and life outside the classroom.

Look around you

Another way to gauge whether the school is right for your family is to have a look around. Do the students appear happy? Do the teachers seem approachable and friendly? Can you picture your child here?

Sometimes these observations can carry the most weight, and even if your questions have been answered well, if any of these things don't seem right, then it may not be the school for you.

Talk to other families

Chat with other families with children at some of the schools you're considering.

"We did talk to the neighbours, but being our first school year, we only knew a handful of the parents from kindergarten," Ben said.

Other parents can give you insider knowledge and share what they like best about the school.

However, always come back to your first list of what's most important to you, as this can vary from family to family. Make sure you choose based on your own needs and values and not what is discussed as a 'good school'.

Many boarding parents want to know things about homework support opportunities, mobile phone policy, how the school deals with issues, and even career pathways. They may have questions about how children will be looked after from a pastoral point of view and their health and well-being.

Parents should consider what elements are most important to them and ask questions accordingly.