Ironbark Ridge Public School

Strength, Respect, Excellence

Telephone02 8814 5687

Dear new kindy parent

Hi everyone just like you I have been the parent of my first child starting Kindy and I too sat there with heaps of questions I was too scared to ask.  I am the parent of 2 children but I am also here as a member of the P&C, a parent volunteer in the classroom, a fundraiser and a canteen worker.  I guess you can say I jumped right in as my kids are now in Year 1 and 2.

One of the things I raised after my first year was that there was a lot of information or things that I wished I had known up front or been told about so here I am.  I have lots of advice but am only going to give you the main bits.  Most things are common sense like label EVERYTHING, trust me, EVERYTHING including socks and undies – you have no idea – sometimes they rehearse for say the Kindy dance group and we end up with kids with no socks or the wrong socks etc. Some of it is general advice such as put morning tea in a paper bag so the kids can identify it easily and do not pack too much food as they aren't allowed to move from their designated eating area until they have finished it all which means if you pack too much they lose play time.  I'm not going to go through all of them as the list is quite long but hopefully a few things that I say will help you in your journey through Kindergarten.

These are the top couple that I think you NEED TO KNOW up front.

Firstly let me tell you that kindy is nothing like preschool.  The learning curve that they go through is a very big one. Right from day one they will amaze you with the things that they do and learn.  This journey starts on the morning of day one.  A lot of my friends had shown me photos of them with their kids in the class rooms and with the teacher etc and then I came here and it was completely different and I know a lot of parents talked about it with me.  On the morning your child starts and I think it will be staggered starts, you arrive and meet your buddy and go to the classroom with your child and this is the part you need to know up front.  The teacher will take your child at the door and go into the classroom and before you know it you have missed your goodbye.  You will be standing there and your child will have taken this giant step forward.  I strongly urge you to do all of your goodbyes and photos at home or before you get to school as once your child is down at their room there is no opportunity for the photos or the big teary goodbye.  It is the best way they can start, it is quick and it is clean and there are no tears.

I also want to let you know that at the end of every day you don't get the report or account of what happened during the day.  I was used to seeing the written report every afternoon and the digital photo frame showing photos of the day.  At big school, the teachers will hand the kids over at the designated collection spot and with a great big smile of relief your kids children will be handed over.  A lot of parents comment that they don't know what goes on in the classroom during the day and they don't get an opportunity to ask questions or see their child's progress.  I for one didn't hold back, every afternoon as I collected my daughter I would just ask in passing if she had had a good day and most of the time it was a yes although sometimes I got a "she was chatty."  I can tell you that your teachers will tell you if there is a problem or concern and it is ok to go and approach them and ask questions.  If you feel you would like to know something more than you are told please please feel free to ask, send a note or call the office and ask the teacher to call you and THEY WILL.  No one wants you to feel like you are left in the dark but not everyone wants to know the same things so remember that your teachers are human and approachable.  If it is inconvenient they will make a convenient time to talk to you but remember that your child is now in big school and a lot of the responsibility now falls on them to tell you what they did during the day.

It is also important to check the school newsletter every fortnight on the website/school app or by email if you are registered with the Class Contact and your child's bag every day as this is the main communication channel. I cant stress the importance enough of reading the newsletter. If you are on Facebook then 'Like' the school 'page' so you get the daily feed of information.

The next thing that I think is important is to let you know that your kids will all make friends. My daughter came here as the only child from her preschool and on day one she formed friends with everyone in the class.  All of the kids eat in a big circle at morning tea and lunch as a class and they are never left to be alone whilst eating.  This is a great way of them forming friends and the teachers are also there to help with anything that needs to be opened.  The canteen helpers are also available too.  We stand there in support of Doris, our Canteen Manager, armed with knives and scissors and are forever opening yoghurts, ice blocks, jellies and packets of chips.  The Year 5 and 6 Ridgy Didge Buddies are also good at doing this now. 

A lot of you are also freaking about the Best Start Assessment, well I know I was. How was my daughter going to cope with this test? Will she be OK? Will they compare her? Will everyone know if she does badly? You know what, it made no impact upon her.  The first afternoon I asked her about her test and she said Mum I met a girl called Chloe today? That's good dear, did you sit with your teacher and count today? Mum I met the lady at the canteen today, can I take money tomorrow? Em did you do letters today? Mum did you know our class sits on the frog?  Em did you read a book with the teacher.  Mum, I had a busy day today and I'm tired. - I tell you no impact whatsoever.  As a parent volunteer I can see that the purpose of this test is very very important and I can guarantee you that the kids think nothing of their levels or groups and there is no comparison or gossiping, it is merely used to tailor work to the individual needs of each and every student to assist with their learning.

How will you get through it? Day one you will be at home or work thinking does she miss me? Did she make friends? Did she find the toilet ok? Is she tired? What did she learn? Could she open her yoghurt? Did she have enough to eat? Did she not have enough to eat? Was she good? Was she naughty? Did she pass her test? Did she cry? Gee I miss her. Will they notice if I sneak up and have a look through the window? I still miss her ….. Relax you will get through it, they will get through it and I guarantee by the end of week 3 they will want you to drop off in the kiss and drop zone out the front and they wont think any more of it.  You might not get tears in week one, you might, you will almost definitely get them by the end of the term as they get tired but you will all get through it and the night they come home and read you their first book instead of you reading to them you will absolutely MELT.  Trust me!!

Being a kindy parent was an absolute joy for me and dealing with the wonderful staff and teachers has been a pleasure.  The thing that I have taken away from my first year at the school is the need for parental involvement.  It is the single most rewarding thing I have learnt. To see the kids faces when you volunteer for reading groups, maths groups, fundamental movement skills or in the canteen is adorable.  There are lots of opportunities for you to volunteer not just in those groups but on the P&C or one of the various sub committees such as fundraising, etc so don't panic if you are a working parent, there are heaps of opportunities.

Please feel free at any stage to approach me or any of the other parents if you have a question about anything, committees, P&C, starting kindy, how you are going to get through day one without sneaking up in disguise please feel free to call, email, text or approach me.  I am more than happy to help make your start at Big School a relaxing stress free enjoyable one.