Transition to School

Supporting preschool and kindergarten children through their early education transitions helps them to become secure, confident learners, ready to engage with educators and peers.

Why preparation for school is important

Starting the early years of schooling is an important time for children and families. So many new experiences, routines, people, classrooms and things to navigate. There are practical matters like enrolments, uniforms, lunch boxes, and procedures. Maintaining children's wellbeing is a big consideration too. Children (and parents) can go from feeling a little nervous to very anxious and may worry about so many changesLong before the first day of school, teachers, staff, and parents/carers can collaborate to support children and families to prepare for school. 

Preparation is key to happy transitions -
think friendships, positivity, visits or virtual tours,
and reading books about starting school with children...

We’ve asked parents about what they did to prepare their child/ren for starting preschool or kindy. Preparation often depends on a child’s previous care experiences - such as in-home care, childcare centre, relatives, or playgroups. Parents tell us they have found it useful to do some of the following:

  • walk past the school with your child and talk about what they can see
  • register for the school's orientation day
  • visit the school with your child
  • look up the school website and make a list of important school contacts
  • join or follow the parent association on Facebook
  • read or subscribe to the school newsletter
  • look at pictures of the school
  • read books about starting schooland talk positively about school with your child
  • organise a playdate with other prospective students
  • learn about the benefits of play and play-based learning
  • download the parent Reference guide for starting school.

Parent Webinar (recording available here)

Council's Transition to School Webinar provides practical tips to help plan and prepare children for preschool and kindergarten. Organised in collaboration with the ACT Education Directorate, the webinar provides information about early education transitions - what the research tells us, important ways to prepare and support children, and understanding the school-family partnership.

Speakers: 

Dr Kathryn Hopps, Adjunct Research Associate at Charles Sturt University and a Consultant with Early Childhood Australia on the Be You mental health initiative. Kathryn has a background as teacher in a diverse range of education settings in schools, school age care and early learning. Her research expertise is in transitions, with her PhD study focussed on transitions to primary school. Kathryn has presented and published her research work in Australia and internationally and her current research study is investigating families’ experiences of starting school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simone Hobday and Anne Gummow, ACT Education Directorate, talk about supporting children’s learning and partnering with schools.