Information for Families

The first five years of a child’s life are characterised by rapid growth and development.  The learning pathways laid down in these early years form the foundation for future learning and life outcomes.  Readiness to learn does not reside solely in the child, but reflects the environments in which children find themselves- their families, early childhood settings, schools, neighbourhoods and communities.

Learning through play

‘Play provides the most natural and meaningful process by which children can construct knowledge and understandings, practice skills, immerse themselves naturally in a broad range of literacy and numeracy and engage in productive, intrinsically motivating learning environments’. (p.21, Walker, 2007)

When children engage in play-based learning, it assists them to:

  • develop thinking skills such as problem solving, reasoning and lateral thinking
  • interact with others, develop communication skills and work in collaboration with peers and adults
  • enhance literacy, numeracy and the development of scientific concepts
  • make decisions and initiate play to become confident and motivated learners
  • resolve conflict, challenge unfair play and embrace diversity
  • develop a sense of responsibility and the skills required to self regulate

Ways you can support your child’s learning through play:

  1. A visual morning/evening routine can encourage independence, responsibility, planning and organisational skills.
  2. Write short story explanations written in the positive tense to develop pre-reading and communication skills, resilience and empathy. For example, a short story for making friends.
  3. Word games, rhymes, songs and poems enhance language development.
  4. Board, card games and outdoor games with simple rules develop concentration, turn taking, literacy and numeracy skills and resilience. For example, Communication Dice.
  5. Puzzles, drawing, painting, cutting, play dough and blocks strengthen hand muscles and hand-eye coordination, important skills for writing.
  6. Skipping, jumping and running, throwing/catching a ball and climbing are important skills for co-ordination, large muscle development and spatial awareness. Check out the Munch & Move Fundamental Movement Skills.
  7. Cooking, gardening, water/sand play and construction develop mathematical and science concepts.

Thinking about transition to school

Is my child ready to start school?

Starting School – Big Fat Smile
A useful guide to assist you in preparing your child to make a smooth transition to school. This booklet provides suggested play based activities to enhance development, information on immunisation, packing healthy lunches, out of school hour’s care and links to useful websites. A handy month-by month checklist outlines key dates for the year prior to your child starting school.

For further resources and information click here

Parents Perspective

Starting ‘big school’ at Mt St Thomas Public School

Kate talks about her eldest daughter starting school at Mt St Thomas Public School, some of the emotions she experienced and how the school’s transition to school program helped ease the change.