A smooth transition into kindergarten

Attending school for the very first time is a huge step. Surroundings are completely new and expectations are unknown, which can be daunting for five-year-olds.

That is why primary schools in our Diocese aim to make the transition from home to school easier for Kindergarten students.

Each primary school runs a program to welcome new students into the world of “big school”. Some schools like St Joseph’s Primary School, Gloucester invite their upcoming students once a week for all of Term 4. Other schools have shorter programs that run for a few weeks.

Here are some of the Kindergarten transition programs our schools are running this year.

St Joseph’s Primary School, Gloucester

Transition to school for students at St Joseph’s Gloucester is well under way. Every Thursday during Term 4, the Kindergarten children for 2020 attend school for the day and participate in all school activities. They join with the other students in the playground and enjoy a variety of activities, with the library as their “classroom” during the day.

Some of the students travel to and from school with their siblings on the bus and enjoy a fun-filled day of structured as well as imaginative play both inside and outside the classroom setting.

This program has been running at St Joseph’s for the past seven years. The children enjoy interacting with the older students and they form friendships and routines well before the start of the new school year.

Children must be enrolled to commence school at St Joseph’s in 2020 to attend.

St Joseph’s Primary School, Wingham

St Joseph’s Wingham is once again hosting its Early Birds program for all students enrolled for next year.

This year it has decided to make the transition for the little ones even smoother by having them for full school days.

For four weeks, Early Birds will meet and spend time with their buddies and teachers, build friendships with their peers and other students at the school, learn and use the school playground and most importantly start getting used to school routines. We know this goes a long way to making the transition for them more positive.

St Patrick’s Primary School, Swansea

St Patrick’s, Swansea has three orientation mornings for the incoming Kindergarten children and their parents.

The first orientation is a very relaxed and welcoming experience in the school hall. The parents are invited to stay and mingle while the children familiarise themselves with their new surroundings and their new playmates.

The program begins with a “pop-up playgroup”, which is full of engaging provocations. The pre-schoolers are joined by the current Year 4 children and are invited to participate in construction activities, craft and drawing, dressing up in the school uniform and even a pop-up canteen and sickbay where there are lots of role-playing opportunities. 

At the next orientation morning, the pre-schoolers join in the classroom for some more play opportunities with the Year 4 children, who will become the Kinder buddies in 2020. There are more engaging provocations including a puppet theatre, fine-motor activities and games. After a fruit break, the children participate in a scavenger hunt around the school. They buddy-up and use clues to find different locations around the school.

The morning finishes with some fun outdoor activities, which include the parachute, ball games and exploring beautiful outdoor spaces. Playground equipment, mud-kitchen, shop-front and stage are all popular choices.

The final orientation is in the classroom. “Students” engage in stories, craft, singing and dance activities. Again, they are joined by their Year 4 friends. The pre-schoolers are matched with a buddy for 2020. Each buddy shares a letter they have prepared with their pre-school friend at the end of the morning. 

The orientation program is a very gentle and nurturing experience for incoming Kindergarten students. Feedback from these days has been very positive.

Our Lady of Victories Primary School, Shortland

Twice in the last month, Our Lady of Victories has hosted a group of future students for two days of orientation. Twenty-eight pre-schoolers had a taste of what “big school” would be like when they start in Kindergarten in 2020. During their first visit, Year 4 and Year 5 students were teamed up in small groups to introduce the school as “Big Buddies” to the new group. The principal spoke with parents and introduced some of the policies and practices at the school. During that time, the children participated in craft and play activities then enjoyed a small lunch with their “Big Buddies”.

On their second visit, the children were introduced to the concepts of play and learning provocations of the Successful Foundations program, which they will experience next year. CSO Early Education Officer Kim Moroney addressed the parents and explained how the use of “provocations” and play stimulate enquiry, exploration, cooperation, problem-solving, social interaction and much more. The children are given opened questions and explore the concept through play in the sandpit, dress up in the doctor’s surgery, explore the world in the maps room, experience fantasy in the fairy garden and high rise construction with the blocks. The Successful Foundations program was widely acclaimed by this year’s Kindergarten families and highly commended by Ms Moroney in her address.

Our Lady of Victories is looking forward to another successful year for Kindergarten in 2020.

St Joseph's Primary School, Kilaben Bay

We have enjoyed getting to know our new Kindergarten children and families who are attending St Joseph’s Kilaben Bay in 2020. We have buddied each child with a Year 5 student who have the responsibility to look after them during their transition to school. Our orientation day included families involved in numeracy and literacy activities with their children and time to play and get to know each other.

Following our orientation day, we invited families and children to return to us for three playdates. The playdates allowed the children to be involved in many activities with their buddies and peers while their parents/carers were involved in activities in our school hall. We look forward to January 30 2020 when they return in their new school uniforms. 

St Michael's Primary School, Nelson Bay

Excited little faces trickled into St Michael's school hall, holding their mum's and dad's hands tightly for the Kinder Orientation at Nelson Bay. The new 2020 Kinder friends and their parents explored some of the provocations and learning spaces set up around the hall before taking their seat for orientation.

Current Year 5 students proved to be more than ready for their role as 2020 Mighty Mates, introducing themselves to their Mini Mate's parents and giving them a personally written letter.

The brave new friends then said goodbye to their parents and went up to the Kindergarten classrooms to do some fun activities with their Mighty Mate's.

Principal Helen Bourne welcomed all new families and the current Kindergarten teachers and Mrs Cate Anderson (Assistant Principal), presented information about the school, the Kindergarten program and some ideas to help their children with literacy.

The day ended with a reflection from our 2019 Kinders, sharing all the things they loved about school whilst the song 'This is me' played in the background.

To find out more or to enrol your children in Kindergarten for 2020, click here.

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle