At Holy Family, our Kindergarten transition program is progressive to ensure a smooth transition to starting school. Applications for enrolment are open during Catholic Schools Week at the start of the year. During Term 3, we hold a Kindergarten information evening for parents who are sending their child to Holy Family. Following our information evening, our transition sessions are held during Term 4 of each year. Both parents and children have an opportunity to come to the transition sessions to meet the class teacher and their Year 6 buddy, as well as other students starting kindergarten. Together we engage in a variety of play-based activities and stories while becoming more familiar with our school environment here at Holy Family.
Children in Year 5 are trained to be “buddies” to the incoming Kindergarten class. Children help their special friend settle into school life. The incoming Kindergarten children are introduced to their “buddy” during our transition sessions.
Successful Foundations supports the positive transition to school of Kindergarten children. It is based on six declarations which are the foundation of the Early Learning Policy for all primary schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
We provide a series of open-ended play experiences for learning and wellbeing in the first hour of the day over the first five weeks of Kindergarten. During Successful Foundations, the learning environment of the classroom and outdoor setting is intentionally and thoughtfully designed to invite children to play and to provoke deep knowledge and understanding. These intentional spaces are called “provocations.” The five specific provocations include: Dramatic Play, Blocks and Boxes, Maps in My World, Sharing Stories and Being Friends Outdoors. It provides a continuum between prior to school environments and school.
Successful Foundations provides children with the opportunity to actively demonstrate their funds of knowledge, build relationships and become familiar with the context of the school. It also provides teachers with the time and opportunity to develop meaningful relationships as they can observe and interact with the competent, creative and capable child.
There is growing evidence, both nationally and internationally, that the first years of life, play and the transition to school have significant impact on education, wellbeing and subsequent life trajectories (Dockett & Perry, 2014). Play allows the Early Learner (birth to 8 years) to explore, identify, negotiate, take risks and create meaning. Children who engage in quality play experiences are more likely to have well-developed memory skills, language development, and are able to regulate their behaviour, leading to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning (Bodrova & Leong, 2005).