With 65 Kindergarten students enrolling at Merimbula Public School in 2012, the second largest intake in 10 years, the 2012 'Welcome To Kindergarten Afternoon' was one of the biggest yet. Despite it raining during the afternoon, the new students, their parents and caregivers enjoyed celebrating a successful start to the year.
The afternoon, which took place on Thursday February 16, started with parents getting to know the teachers and school programs even better. They met in the kindergarten classrooms to listen to teachers talk about the successful start of all students, kindergarten programs taking place and special activities carers are welcome to be a part of at the school. The teachers also shared information about Best Start activities that were taking place, where teachers spend time with each individual student to assess their literacy and numeracy skills in preparation for further developing class programs to ensure that the specific learning needs of every child are met.
During the information session for parents and caregivers, the students participated in some fun games, activities and computer tasks with the Principal, Stage 1 teachers and School Learning Support Officers. "The Kindergarten students and their siblings had a great time and parents and carers appreciated being told about how their children are settling into school and how they can further help their child's transition" shared Principal Michelle Hulme. Merimbula Public School has a strong transition program, starting with a 'Get To Know You Morning Tea' early in November before students enrol. The informal morning allows students to enter the school in a fun, relaxed way before beginning the 4 week orientation program that involves classroom activities, a school tour, purchasing items from the canteen and meeting supportive staff members throughout the school.
The afternoon ended with a barbecue, allowing parents and carers to spend time with their children and meet their child's, or childrens', new friends and their families. The transition to school program at Merimbula Public School will soon be further improved thanks to support from the Country Areas Program. Merimbula Public School and the Sapphire Coast Learning Community's primary schools have received a funding grant to enable local preschool teachers from Bega to Eden to develop a 'Smooth Start - Preschool to Kindergarten' Transition Program and further share early childhood programs and kindergarten work units across the region.
"The Sapphire Coast Learning Community and local preschools began planning our new project last year" shared Michelle Hulme. "Principal Mark Thomson of Pambula Public School and I visited each of the local preschools and Bega Family Day Care to find out how we could further network to support the early learning needs of our students. Since then we have been participating in shared professional learning events and looking forward to our new planning days that have been supported by this additional funding".
A team of 11 local preschool teachers will soon begin to work with Sapphire Coast Learning Community kindergarten staff to further improve the already successful transition programs at Merimbula Public School and other public schools within the region.