Smoothing the transition to Prep

Are you starting Prep in 2023? How has the transition to Prep been so far? Sunshine Beach State Primary School’s approach to Prep transition has been a huge success with families. Spoiler alert… it is already familiarising Preppies for 2024!

The first day of ‘big’ school will be on the minds of many kindy families right now. You’ve worked out who of your child’s friends from kindy are going to the same school. You’ve probably had a brief tour of the school and there may even be an Orientation Day during Term 4. Often, however, the first day of school is the first time you and your child will spent any consistent time at your new school.

This makes the first day of school a big deal. Your child needs to remember a whole new routine. Who is their teacher? In fact, who are all these people? Oh, and where are the toilets?

The first few weeks of Prep are mostly spent getting familiar with the new environment. It could be the end of Term 1 before many children are comfortable enough to learn.

What if all that familiarity could be developed well before your child’s first day?


Building the foundations for a strong start

Sunshine Beach State Primary School is establishing a long-term, proactive approach to settling its littlest learners. The school holds a comprehensive program of Prep transition events through the entire school year, prior to when learners start.

“Our Prep transition program gives pre-Prep children plenty of time to feel at home in the Prep environment,” Sunshine Beach State School’s Prep Transition Officer, Bec Kennett, says. “They know what to expect, get to know the Prep teachers and Prep ‘family’ — all those things that help a child to feel confident and safe in those critical early days.”

The Prep transition program at Sunshine Beach includes a regular series of story time and showcase lessons at the school. Each is designed to expose children and families to what life in Prep at Sunshine Beach is like.

“Our story time sessions are an incredibly successful part of the transition program,” Ms Kennett says. “Families come and join in the experience of a Prep classroom. A teacher will share a story with the group. This will be followed by a literacy or art activity related to the book.”

As well as story time sessions, parents are encouraged to attend the many other transition events throughout the year.

“During some events, children will join with their peers and junior classes in an author event in our hall. In other events, they may attend a specialist class led by our specialist teachers, join Prep children within the class for an activity, sit outside under the Prep tree for morning tea and have fun in the Prep playground,” Ms Kennett says.

“Meanwhile, parents are able to network with families and chat to staff, while watching their children create new friendships and develop a support system.”

She says the goal of the Prep transition program is to ensure a smooth and happy start to school life.

“Not only on Day 1, but throughout each child’s educational path.”

Kids Enjoying Art Activity at Sunshine Beach State School Prep Transition

Sunshine Bush playgroup

In addition to the structured Prep transition events, the Sunshine Bush Playgroup also plays an important role in Prep transition. It’s held every Thursday morning in the school’s impressive permaculture garden (excluding public and term holidays).

“Children come to play in our lovely permaculture garden and make friends,” MS Kennett says. “Many of the children will be starting Prep the following year. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for parents to make important connections, and it makes the Prep transition far less daunting for everyone.”

Ms Kennett says the Bush Playgroup is great for transitioning children into Prep because families are there with their children.

“Families and children come together to create nature-based craft activities using resources from our gardens,” she says. “Bush playground is the perfect for families to build long-lasting connections and for their children to establish a great friend base for stepping into learning at our school.”

Ms Kennett says the thing that helps most with the transition to Prep is being comfortable with your surroundings; being familiar with the Prep area and how school works.

“Coming to the Bush Playgroup each week provides the time and opportunity for families to build that essential connection with the school,” she says. “By the time it comes to Prep, our little bush babies are confidently running into their classrooms, not fazed at all about the school year ahead. They even have friendships from playgroup that go onto the Prep year together.”

The Sunshine Bush Playgroup is free and open to all families with under-school-age children.

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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