Frequently Asked Questions

“No such thing as a stupid question”

When should I enrol my child?

Enrolling your child with us 6 months before they turn 5 years old, helps us with our planning and staffing. It also ensures that we have your contact information and can therefore make contact with you as your child approaches their birthday.

When will my child start school?

Your child is able to start school as soon as they turn 5 years old. Some of our families prefer to have their child start school on their birthday, while others prefer to wait for a Monday to start school.

What year level will my child be?

If your child starts school during Term 1, they are classified as a Year 1 student and they will go into Year 2 the following year. If your child starts school during Terms 2, 3, or 4, they are classified as a Year 0 student and will be a Year 1 student the following year.

When should we visit the school?

We encourage two Pre-school Visits for all children, prior to starting at school. These are held on a Wednesday morning from 8:30 - 10:10am. We try to keep the visits as close as possible to your child’s birthday i.e. the two Wednesday’s prior so that they are visiting in the classroom that they will be joining with their teacher. We are more than happy to modify the number of visits or the day if the pre-set options are not workable for your family. If your child requires more than two visits, we can also cater for this.

I’ve heard that someone visits the children at Preschool, what happens on these visits?

Kirsten Bell will arrange to visit with your child at their preschool, prior to them visiting at Tahatai Coast School. This allows her to see your child in an environment where they are settled and comfortable. Kirsten will chat with the teachers about your child’s interests and which activities they have appeared to enjoy most at pre-school. She will then introduce herself to your child and ask them if they would like to show her their favourite activity. They will chat and enjoy the activity together and Kirsten will take their photo. This photo will then be up in the classroom when they visit at school. This is to help them develop a connection to the new environment and feel a sense of belonging. It also helps when they ‘know’ another face within the school environment.

My child hasn’t shown any interest in formal learning (e.g. writing) will this be a problem?

Not at all. We will work with your child to encourage their participation in new experiences. We will encourage your child to try a ‘must do’ activity (briefly at first) and then provide a variety of choices, ‘can do’ activities, for them to self select what they would like to do next. We also provide opportunities for free play throughout the day, and we have a strong focus on creating a sense of belonging with the children (belonging is also a strand from the early childhood curriculum).

Does my child take their portfolio to school?

Yes. We love having these in the classrooms to celebrate your child’s past learning. Your child will be encouraged to share their portfolio with their new friends. They love looking back at all of the photos and talking about the amazing experiences that they have had. Teachers use the portfolios to find out more about the children, and utilise the many stories of past experiences as motivation and for modelling story writing.

What can I do to prepare my child for school?

Help them to develop independence with…

  • Putting on and taking off shoes
  • Putting on and taking off sweatshirts
  • Blowing their nose
  • Unpacking their bag

Skills you could practise…

  • Sitting still for a short time to complete an activity
  • How to take turns, and wait for things
  • How to recognise or write their name (not all in capitals)
  • How to hold a picture book and turn the pages carefully

Come and visit the school grounds/play areas out of hours prior to starting school.

What do I do if my child won’t settle at school?

Our teachers are very experienced at helping the students to say good bye and settle into an activity, either with them, or some other students. We will always contact you if they do not settle, and will not leave a child distressed. Most students settle within a few minutes and are happy to participate in the remainder of the day. Try not to prolong leaving, as hard as it is to walk away from your child, the teacher will text you to let you know that they have settled, so that you don’t spend your day worrying about them.

How do I know what my child is learning at school?

There are many opportunities to find out what your child is learning to do at school. We have learning conferences (like parent teacher interviews), written school reports, visual displays of individual learning goals in the classrooms, and a Facebook page for each whānau to celebrate learning activities.

What is Mutukaroa?

Mutukaroa is a Home/School Learning Partnership which involves 3 meetings between Kirsten Bell and yourself, during your child’s first year old school. The classroom teacher will complete a full assessment of literacy and numeracy on your child at 5yrs, 5.5yrs, and 6yrs. These assessments will then be explained and discussed at a Mutukaroa meeting taking approximately 45mins - 1hr. After looking at your child’s achievement and progress, you will select two goals that your child would enjoy practising at home. Kirsten will provide resources for you to take home to help them practise this new learning.

Are there any information meetings?

Yes. We hold a meeting for all parents of New Entrant children due to start school during the following term. If we have your enrolment, we will send an invitation to this meeting closer to the time. Our meeting dates are as follows:

Term1 : Thursday 19 March 2020 for parents/caregivers of students starting school during Term 2 2020.

Term 2: Thursday 11 June 2020 for parents/caregivers of students starting school during Term 3 2020.

Term 3: Thursday 3 September 2020 for parents/caregivers of students starting school during Term 4 2020.

Term 4: Thursday 26 November 2020 for parents/caregivers of students starting school during Term 1 2021.