Moving on to school
Most children in New Zealand start school on or shortly after their fifth birthday although school is not compulsory until they are six.
You can help your child prepare for school by taking them to their new school before they start. Many schools organise visits before your child’s first day. If not, take your child to see their classroom and meet their teacher a few times.
Before your child starts school, it is also helpful if they can:
- do up their shoes
- go to the toilet and wash their hands
- blow their nose
- recognise when they are thirsty and get a drink of water
- ask for things they need.
Will your child be ready to learn?
You can help by encouraging them to:
- sit on a chair at a table for short periods of time to complete an activity
- ask for things they need
- be comfortable being away from you
- knows how to take turns, or is able to wait for things.
It is helpful, but not essential, if your child has learned some basic knowledge such how to hold a picture book and turn the pages carefully, the names of colours, the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 1-9, and to write their name.
Once their teacher has assessed what your child can do, they will develop a learning programme. If your child can already recognise some words, their teacher will take that into account when developing your child’s learning programme.
What does the teacher need to know about your child?
The teacher will need to know:
- after-school plans and who picks up your child when you are not able to
- if your child has any special health needs, and what to do
- what your child likes to do, what they are good at and what makes them happy.
For more information on starting school and what to expect , visit the primary school section.
You can download and print a factsheet with this information below.
Early Childhood Education leaver's record
When your child enrolls at school for the first time the school will ask some questions about whether your child has participated in early childhood education (ECE). Schools provide this information to the Ministry of Education, where it is used to provide information about ECE across New Zealand, both to government and to the public.
We are updating the questions schools ask about participation in ECE to get better information about how families use ECE. Schools have updated their enrolment forms and the new questions will be available in the school enrolment system late 2011.
To make it easier for parents to bring ECE information when first enrolling a child at school, we have developed a leaver's record. It has the new questions needed for enrolling your child at school.