The information below should help to answer many of the questions you may have about school. Naturally, if you have other questions you are most welcome to email your classrom teacher or speak to them in person.
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 your 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 your teacher.
It is lovely to share your child’s portfolio or profile book from the ECE or kindy you have been at. A great snapshot to what your child has already learned and great to extend the relationship from kindy to school.
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
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
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.
We suggest the children eat 1 or 2 things from their lunchbox for morning tea and the rest for lunch.
Please remember the children have to show the duty teacher their lunchbox to check they have eaten so don’t pack too much.
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...
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.
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready so you don’t all feel rushed and stressed. Some children get upset walking in late. School starts at 8.50 and children are allowed in the classroom after 8.30.
Come in and say hello
Please tell your 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.
Class starts at 8.50 am.
Morning Tea is from 10.30am – 10.50am. During this time we 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 your teacher know if your child is not eating their lunch or coming home with a full drink bottle. We can make special arrangements to ensure that your child is eating and drinking properly.
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.
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 our school website to stay on top of dates is a great idea. There is a calendar on our home page.
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 daycare or kindergartens 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.
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.
We teach a phonics programme as learning the sounds letters make are essential for reading and writing.
Click here for jolly phonics
We read every day, developing reading and comprehension strategies. Your child will bring home a reading book in their book bag Monday to Thursday to share with you after school. On Friday a poetry book comes home with a poem we have learnt that week.
Reading is broken down into colour levels. Click each level to see what sorts of reading behaviours are expected.
For more information please click here for the Education New Zealand website
Our writing programme initially aims 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, we begin to develop specific elements of their writing depending on their needs. We also have a daily handwriting programme as it is such an advantage when children learn correct letter formation early on and start with good habits.
Our first writing goals are here
We then work on these
Our maths programme begins with a whole class number warm-up, such as counting forwards and backwards. Then we work with small groups of similar ability children, whilst the other children work on independent group activities that support their maths learning.
Click here for more information.
This website is great for highlighting our priorities for your child’s learning during their first year at school. Click here for link
Schools need to work in partnership with families to support children to learn. Always talk to us for ideas but we suggest you look at this website.
We also have suggestions for our parents here on our KTS website. Please click here.
Schools are busy places so keeping an eye on what is going on, what is coming up and important dates is best done if you keep an eye on the school website calendar and reading the newsletters. Teachers do email parents also.
If your child is about to start with us and you have any questions you can email firstname.lastname@example.org . School is a wonderful new chapter in your child’s life and we try to make it a happy one for them.