Let's talk School Orientation
Updated: Oct 19
We often get asked why it's important for children to attend school orientation and we laugh and say how long have you got?
So much happens during the orientation process for your child, but let us share what we think is important.
When a child attends orientation they are getting their first experience of real school.
They are feeling all the emotions from excitement, stress, nervousness, shyness, enthusiasm to fun and every emotion in between.
But, they are working out exactly how to manage these emotions through becoming familiar with this new environment, meeting the teachers, chatting with the other children and doing the activities that have been organised for the session by the teachers.
They are also getting the chance to see what actually happens in the classroom which will help them get their expectations in check for the transition next year.
Many schools do multiple orientations spread out over a few weeks, because we teachers know that practice makes progress, so the more the children experience school for themselves the easier the transition will be the following year.
Let us give you a little insight into what actually happens while your child is attending orientation.
Story time on the mat
This is a chance for the teacher to see and assess who is listening, who is asking good and relevant questions, how long can the children concentrate.
This is also a great way for children to feel comfortable and confident in a new environment because that's what they do in the early childhood setting.
Worksheet colouring in, cutting and gluing
This is a chance for your child to demonstrate if they can write their name, colour in, manipulate scissors and glue according to the instructions.
This is the time that the teacher is taking note of pencil grip, scissor skills, gluing skills and if your child can follow instructions.
May we add here, the teacher is using this information to see what they will need to focus on in the first few weeks of term 1.
They is not judging they are assessing!
For example if not many of the children can write their name (this is not an essential starting school skill by the way) that will be something they will focus on in the first few weeks.
Tour of the School
Now this is the fun part....this is where your child gets the chance to "check out" the school. The library, play equipment, toilet, where they will eat their lunch, bubbler, canteen, craft room and the office.
This is what you child is really interested in. Lots of children "worry" about the practical stuff like where will I eat, go to the toilet and hang my bag. Once they have that all sorted they can then focus on other things.
So if you are in the process of orientation with your child, please be mindful not to bombard them with stories about your school experiences.
Instead, offer them lots of reassurance and let them ask loads of questions and share information with you about their experiences.
The transition to school is one of the biggest transitions your child will make, so make sure it's a super positive one.
Let us know in the comments below how orientation is going for you and your child.
We'd love to know if the information we provided helped you out?