New Entrant Parent Information

Further to our own transition to school programme, the information below should help to answer many of the questions you may have about school.
First steps – before your child starts
Have a play at the school in the weekend – walk around, explore the playgrounds, look through the windows and get familiar – things that become familiar are not scary.
Have a chat with the teacher.
When teachers know children well they can support them better. It is always helpful to know special health needs and also what your child enjoys doing, what they are good at and what makes them happy.
If you child has special learning needs they often get identified in that first year of school. If you have any early concerns it is great to chat to the teacher.
It is lovely to share your child’s portfolio from kindy. A great snapshot to what your child has already learned and great to extend the relationship from kindy to school.
Teacher tips
Before your child starts school, it is great if they can:
• Do up their shoes
• Put on and take off their coats and jumpers
• Go to the toilet and wash their hands
• Unpack and hang up their bags where they are told
• Open and close their lunchbox by themselves and eat independently
Parent tips
Your child will find it easier if you can teach them to:
• Sit on a chair at a table for 5-10 minutes to complete an activity
• Become comfortable being away from you
• Know how to take turns and wait for things
• Know the letters of the alphabet
• Know the numbers 1 to 9
• Write their name
School bag
Make sure your child’s school bag is big enough to fit a lunchbox, book bag, library books, warm jumper, but small enough so your little person can still wear and carry the bag by themselves. Remember the whole goal of that first year is independence.
In your child’s school bag ensure you have their lunch and a water bottle.
Suggest to eat 1 or 2 things from their lunchbox for morning tea and the rest for lunch.
Note: The children feed themselves at lunchtime. We do not allow you to come in and feed your child or bring in a hot meal for them. Encouraging independence is a big part of the first year of being at school.
Other things that might go in the school bag…
• Sunhat in Terms 1 and 4. (It is compulsory to wear a hat outside in all New Zealand schools during our warmer months).
• It is a good idea to put in a change of clothes in case of toileting accidents in that first year.
Naming clothing
PLEASE name all your child’s clothing, shoes and items. It is so easy for items to get misplaced and nearly impossible to return if not named.
Put sunblock on before your child goes to school in Terms 1 and 4. You child will also need to wear a hat every time they go outside in Terms 1 and 4. The New Zealand sun is very harsh and if you do not apply sunblock your child’s skin will burn in our harsh climate.
Mornings before school
Teacher tip
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready so you don’t all feel rushed and stressed. Some children get upset walking in late.
Arriving at school
• Go into the classroom and say hello
• Please tell the teacher about after school arrangements if you won’t be the person picking up your child
• Ask your child if they need to go to the toilet
• Chat with the other children together
• Make goodbyes short – teachers have lots of experience helping children to settle in and managing an upset child.
Timing (check with your individual school – this is a general timetable)
Class starts at 8.50 am.
Morning Tea is from 10.30am – 10.50am. During this time encourage your child to eat a healthy snack (1 or 2 things from their lunchbox), and have a drink.
Lunch is from 12.30pm – 1.30pm. Duty teachers check that children have eaten all their lunch so please try not to overfill their lunch box. Please let the teacher know if your child is not eating their lunch or coming home with a full drink bottle.
The school day finishes at 3pm. Before this time the children will work together to tidy the classroom, collect their belongings and say goodbye to each other. Please wait in the junior courtyard so that your child can see you when it’s time to leave. We do not let a child go until we have made eye contact with the parent or caregiver and if you are running late, please let the office know.
After school
Expect your child to be very tired in the first few weeks. Go home and just relax.
We suggest, instead of asking ‘how was your day?”, asking more specific questions can be helpful such as, “What did you write about today?” Letting them adjust to being at home before asking about school is helpful and even waiting until you are doing something else such as clearing up after afternoon tea can be a better way to casually chat about the day.
It is a good idea to not schedule in lots of afternoon activities – let your child get use to the routine of school first.
Your child will be hungry – a nice big healthy afternoon tea and water will be well received.
Schools are very busy places – being organised will really help you feel more settled. This new chapter will bring endless permission slips, parent help requests, newsletters, notices, homework forms, and so much more into your house. Using the school website to stay on top of dates is a great idea. There is a calendar on the home page.
2 o’clock pick ups (check this policy with your school)
For the first two weeks we suggest the children be picked up at 2 o’clock. We know many of the children have been in kindergarten for longer days, however school is very different and the children get very tired. Picking them up a little bit earlier at first, helps set them up for success and makes the transition to school more happy and manageable for them.
At School (may vary between schools)
Mat tips
Children sit on the mat at school for short bursts. It is a great advantage if they can sit for at least 10 minutes. Children are taught quickly that if they need to say something on the mat they need to put up their hand.
Children are encouraged to share news from home during sharing time. We get them to focus on talking clearly, making eye contact and answering questions. It is also the time we talk about being a good audience by listening and making eye contact back. Being thoughtful and respectful to others is promoted at this time.
For more specific information please visit the Education New Zealand website
Writing programmes initially aim to develop children’s ability to draw a picture, think of a sentence and record some of the sounds they can hear in words. Once they are able to do this independently, children then begin to develop specific elements of their writing depending on their needs. There is a daily handwriting programme as it is such an advantage when children learn correct letter formation early on and start with good habits.
Maths programmes begin with a whole class number warm-up, such as counting forwards and backwards. Then small groups of similar ability children, whilst the other children work on independent group activities that support their maths learning.
The New Zealand Curriculum
This website is great for highlighting our priorities for your child’s learning during their first year at school.
How to help at home
Schools need to work in partnership with families to support children to learn. Always talk to them for ideas but we suggest you look at this website.
Schools are busy places so keep an eye on what is going on, what is coming up and important dates on the school website calendar and reading the newsletters.
School is a wonderful new chapter in your child’s life.