15 Jan

Preparing for your child’s first day at school

If you can think back to your first day of school, you may remember feeling a mixture of excitement and concern for the unknown. 

Millions of children will return to the classroom on 22 January, including plenty of first-time school-goers. As parents, it’s important to prepare for your child’s first day at school. Here are some tips to get you started.

Prepping for Prep 

Kindergartens, Early Years Learning Centres and children and parenting services (such as ours) help children prepare for a smooth transition into Prep. Our services provide a range of programs to get children school-ready and prepare them through play-based environments.  

Young children also learn a range of skills to equip them for continued learning within a classroom setting. The types of skills that children learn include: 

  • Social skills to help them play with and make friends with other children 
  • Emotional regulation 
  • Language skills to support their communication 
  • Basic numeracy and literacy skills 
  • Problem solving skills, and more. 

Before your child starts school, you can support their independence by allowing them to use the toilet on their own and washing their own hands. Additionally, you can let them unwrap their own food. You might also benefit from talking to their early childhood educator for tips on how you can prepare them for school at home. 

Familarise your child with their new school 

In the lead up to a new school year, many schools will host orientation days for children and parents to explore the child’s new surroundings. If you know that your child’s new school is hosting an orientation day, make sure to attend and ask plenty of questions.  

With your child, determine where the classroom will be located and where they’ll find the nearest toilets, drinking fountains and playgrounds. It’s also important for your child to learn what rules they must follow and where you’ll be dropping them off/picking them up each day.  

What will your child need? 

In the lead up to your child’s first day of school, there’ll be a range of items for you to organise, including their uniforms and shoes. Their everyday school wear will need to be measured to fit them comfortably. 

Other items you’ll need to arrange include: 

  • A lunchbox 
  • Water bottle 
  • A spare change of clothes to keep in their backpack 
  • A hat (or two!) 
  • School bag – making sure that it fits them comfortably and has adjustable straps 
  • Enough healthy meals and snacks 
  • Other required items such as stationery, books, sunscreen and pencil cases. If you’re unsure what you need, ask the teacher or contact the school 
  • Labelling your child’s belongings. 

Preparing for your child's first day at school here's some tips

Get them excited about starting school 

Getting your child excited about going to school can help ease any anxiety or concerns that they might have about their first day. Take the time to chat with them about all the fun things they will learn and do. Our own emotions can easily influence a child. Thus, if they see you’re genuinely excited, they’ll be more likely to mirror those emotions. 

There are several ways that you can get your child excited about going to school. For instance, you could: 

  1. Take them shopping to buy their new school belongings 
  2. Organise play dates with other children who’ll be attending their school 
  3. Use the holidays before school to teach them literacy or numeracy skills 
  4. Plan their lunches with them 
  5. Practice their journey to and from school 
  6. Talk about, and practice, after school arrangements 
  7. Practice reading with them. 

For more information 

To learn more about the children and parenting programs we offer in Southern Queensland, please visit our Children and Parenting website or see our broader range of Social and Community Services.