Words of wisdom on monkey bars and maths

At the start of every school year, thousands of preschoolers get nervous about the transition to Kindy. Here's how one school, in Sydney’s east, is changing that.

Video - Words of wisdom on monkey bars and maths

Duration - 2:01

Read the transcript for Words of wisdom on monkey bars and maths.

Violett walked into La Perouse Public School for her first day of school full of confidence thanks to an innovative transition program linking the community with Aboriginal history and culture.

She was one of nine preschoolers who took part in the week-long program at the school in Term 4, 2019.

School principal Lisa Haller said the orientation was an important way for preschoolers to develop relationships with their Kindergarten teacher, support staff and other students who would start school with them.

“The most important aspect of the program is the relationship building,” Ms Haller said.

“If I could give any advice to new families it would be to get into the school and get to know the staff and get to know the other parents.

“It’s a real opportunity to become part of the school community ... and it’s good to start off with that strong, social aspect to school.”

For Violett, the orientation experience was made easier by the presence of family. Big sister Stella and cousin Lila are both in Year 1 this year.

Stella said she understood how her little sister might be feeling.

“I was a bit scared when I was here on my first day. I didn’t know if I could make friends or not make friends,” she said.

Stella said it would be nice to have her little sister at school with her – a feeling shared by Lila.

“We can teach her how to do the monkey bars and we can teach her how to do pluses and minuses,” Lila said.

Ms Haller said as part of the transition activities Gujaga Childcare staff and their preschoolers taught La Perouse students songs and words in the local Dharawal language.

“We are going to be rolling out a [Aboriginal] language program shortly so it was a great opportunity for the students from Gujaga, alongside their teachers, to be able to teach our students,” Ms Haller said.

Gujaga Foundation chairman Ray Ingrey said children belonging to the La Perouse Aboriginal community had been learning their local language for more than a decade at Gujaga Childcare.

“Rather than this stopping once they start Kindergarten, La Perouse Public School is working closely with community and Gujaga to ensure all students at the school have the opportunity to learn about the world's oldest living culture,” he said.

The language classes will be delivered by staff from Gujaga through a team teaching model so that class teachers, as leading learners, are also learning local language, history and culture and can use this knowledge in their daily teaching.

Members of the Aboriginal community of La Perouse have an unbroken connection to the land for more than 7,500 years and two-thirds of the public school’s 54 students identify as Aboriginal.

The school has ensured its transition program reflects the local Aboriginal language, history and culture.

More back-to-school resources

Find the latest articles, checklists, and up-to-date information to help you get ready for school on our 2020 back-to-school hub.

Return to top of page