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Wahroonga Public School

Wahroonga Public School

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Parents Reflections on Starting Kindergarten

Two 2020 Kindergarten parents share their experiences with you on being a parent to a kindergarten child.

First time Kindergarten parent.

Hi, my name is Jo and my son Thomas started Kindergarten this year.

This is my experience of being a first-time kindy mum in 2020.

This year has been a year of firsts for us all, and it has been a little bumpy at times but I would have to say something that has been consistent is the support and education The Bush school has provided this year.

The kindergarten teachers have done an amazing job in the face of adversity. Starting school can be hard for some children and parents but from the first meeting with Thomas’s teachers at the best start appointment, I knew he was in excellent hands.

When home schooling commenced I was so impressed with what the teachers had created in such a short period of notice. As some of you may have school aged children, you know that it wasn’t the easiest of times but as I’ve already mentioned it gave us consistency and seeing the smiling teachers faces in our home each day was a comfort for Thomas, even though I got daily….”Oh no….not phonics again!”.

He has come in leaps and bounds this year in varying stages in his development from learning how to read to making lots of new friends. The families at the Bush School have been also so welcoming. Although we haven’t been able to have the usual playdates and birthday parties, I feel I’ve made some wonderful friends as has Thomas. Everyone has been very supportive of each other and I have felt a real sense of community for the first time after living in the area for almost 20 years.

If you have any concerns please don’t, because your child will be in excellent hands with all the staff and the kindergarten teachers. I wish all your children a wonderful start in 2021.

Repeat Kindergarten parent.

Hello and welcome to Kindergarten Orientation at Wahroonga Public School! 

I am a current Kindergarten mum and also have an older child at the school. As you can imagine, Kindergarten this year was very different to our previous experience. It started off as usual in February with the “first day at big school”, excited little faces, brand new uniforms and a big smile from the Kindergarten teachers who were welcoming the children with open arms. There are always some kids who run into the class each morning, and some who are a bit more hesitant and reluctant. Our son put on a brave face in those first few weeks and I could see him holding back the tears. At the end of the day though, he was always happy and had a fun time. 

Wahroonga Public School has a summer and a winter uniform. Alysha runs the uniform shop and has all the information you need regarding the requirements. The uniform shop on the school grounds usually opens twice a week (one morning, one afternoon), however, at this time, all orders are via the Flexischool website/App until parents are allowed back on campus. Second-hand items were available in the shop prior to it moving to online orders due to the restrictions. 

The school canteen is run by Joan and Wilfred of “Cheese & Toastie”. Orders are via the Flexischool website as well. Some over the counter purchases are possible also. Our son keeps asking for money to buy an icey treat… 

If you are dropping off or picking up your child each day around bell time, you will be able to meet many other lovely parents, exchange information or just have a chat. When school resumed after remote learning, this opportunity continued in the “Kindergarten pick up queue” at a social distance. However, our class has also been communicating via a WhatsApp group that was set up by the class parents. Many parents work and pick their children up from OOSH, so the virtual group helped them stay connected also. 

Class parents communicate important information from the teacher to the class, keep the parents informed on special events (e.g. mufti day) and also organise class get-togethers each term. These can be parent-only dinners or class meet-ups in a local park or playground. Again, due to the limitations on group gatherings, we have not been able to meet up with the entire class. However, community sports have been a great way to meet other Kindergarten families. 

In Kindergarten, children will bring home a Home reader folder. This folder holds a little book to read after school each day, and a sight words booklet, a set of about 100 words that keep reappearing on almost any page of text. Daily practice helps your child to recognise these words at a glance. At school, kids will be divided into literacy groups and rotate through a number of activities each day. Usually, the classroom teacher will ask for parent volunteers to help with these activities. It’s a great way to find out what your child is doing in class, meet the other children and see the teacher interact with the children. Our daughter was always very happy and proud when I helped out in class. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, parent volunteers have not been able to assist in these activities. 

In term one, Kindergarten learns about farm animals and growing plants. This learning culminates in an excursion to Calmsley Hill City Farm. It’s a big day for the children as they not only get to go to the farm, they get to go by bus! Sadly, this year Kindergarten children had to be satisfied with a virtual conversation with a farmer. 

Apart from excursions, the children participate in incursions. Once a year, the school invites children’s book authors to read and discuss their books with the children. This year, the author visit was a virtual experience for the children. However, Kindergarten children have just been visited by Healthy Harold and participated in a life education lesson face-to-face. 

In the first two terms this year, the children have been having one sports lesson each week. In addition, Moving Bodies has been teaching gymnastics skills once a week in term three. For both our kids, sport is one of the favourite lessons at school. 

Each year Education Week is an opportunity to visit your child’s school and classroom and get a peak of what the children have been learning, admire art they have been creating and have your child give you a little school tour. This year, Education Week has been a virtual experience for parents. 

To be in the know, make sure you download the School Steam App and read the weekly Bush Telegraph Newsletter! And if the conversation at school pick up goes like this:
You: How was your day?
Child: Good.
You: What fun things did you do?
Child: I can’t remember. … then you are not alone ;-)

I sincerely hope you and your child/children enjoy the first and many more years at the Bush School! 
Friederike W