Starting primary school
Starting school is a significant milestone for children and their families. Transitions from one setting to another can be unsettling for a child, as they adjust to new routines, new faces, or new approaches to learning. Preparation beforehand can help your child make a positive transition.
On this page:
Planning the transition
Plan for a positive start to school
Transition Learning and Development Statement
Student support group
Access further information about supporting your child
Individual education plan
If your child is spending a lot of time in an early intervention program or with a support worker, your early childhood educator might ask you to nominate who you think should coordinate the statement. The statement includes a section (1.2) which aims to help schools support a child with a disability or developmental delay. Your early childhood educator may include input from other professionals who are supporting your child with your permission.
If you need your child to attend an Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service, consider sharing the transition learning and development statement (TLDS) with the OSHC service. This will help the service tailor their program to your child’s strengths, interests and needs.
Supporting your child with the transition
A child with a disability or developmental challenge may feel anxious about the upcoming changes. These are a few strategies that may help your child with the transition:
Attend an orientation program
Help your child be prepared
Consider how you communicate with your child
Consider how you communicate with the school community
Support a child with separation anxiety
Read positive stories about school
If this is not available, consider asking the school if you can visit the school at different times so that your child can explore some of the classrooms, specialist areas (e.g. performance arts centre and gym) and the playgrounds.
Consider having a count-down calendar (if appropriate) and asking the school for permission to visit the school before the school bell rings during the year prior to your child beginning school so that your child and you can become familiar (or think of suitable ideas) with the morning drop-off crowds and pace.
You may also want to aim to have little change in your family’s everyday life apart from this transition to practise a calm and relaxed environment.
- Inviting one of your child’s health professionals to come to your child’s classroom to talk about the disability or developmental challenge
- Availability of training or professional development opportunities for teachers about your child’s disability or developmental challenge
- Preparing an information package for the specialist teachers about your child
- Writing a short letter for families about your child
You and your child can also fill in AllPlay Learn’s communication checklist before starting primary school. Find this on our parent resources page.
Talk with your child’s teachers to come up with suitable solutions for your child. They could consider evidence-based strategies from our teacher’s page about anxiety, including our anxiety resource toolkit to recognise and support child anxiety.