Yesterday was the first day of the primary school for my daughter. To be honest, I felt a bit emotional just by the thought that my daughter grew up so fast. It feels like 5 years went by like a breeze. Thankfully, the transition was quite smooth.
For the past few months, my daughter and I visited her school numerous times. The school conducted many information sessions for the parents and a couple of sessions for the kids to get familiar with the school. So it was not a big unknown.
Compared to India, there wasn’t much preparation required, except for the mental makeup. The school sold the study books and I had ordered them to be delivered to the classroom directly. So no pick-up was required.Second important thing was to buy a school uniform. Just like India, you must buy uniform only from the school-designated shop. The shop was quite close to me and it sold uniforms for around 20-25 schools.
But the prices, OMG! They were simply outrageous.
A simple summer dress cost whopping $50 and a box pleat skirt between $55 – $60. I could have got similar items at half the cost at the retail shops like Target and Cotton On. Unfortunately, that’s the price you pay for exclusivity. In the end, I spent about $300 for 2 summer dresses, 1 summer hat, 1 book bag and 2 socks packs. Buying a school bag was a little easier as it was not mandatory to buy from the school shop. Big retailers like Kmart, Target, Officeworks has plenty of cheap and good options to choose from.
Last part of the shopping was Name Labels. It’s not a must but a very useful thing to buy. I remember in my childhood I was a kid who was prone to losing lunchbox, sandals, hat etc. Name labels would have certainly helped me. Since name labels contain the name of the kid and the contact number, it can help you find the missing item quickly.
There is a nice website called TinyMe which provides cute name labels in various sizes. They also provide clothing labels which can be ironed. These labels can be applied to the lunch box, shoes, clothes, schoolbag, shoes etc. At the moment, they have a promotion going on where you can get 68% off on name labels if you want to buy.
Note: I am not an affiliate or getting a commission in any way for recommending TinyMe. It’s my honest recommendation but you are free to buy whatever works for you.
First Day Of The School
For the past 3 months or so, my daughter’s daycare started preparing kids for the school. As a part of this, parents had to pack lunch for them, kids were asked to carry a book home for reading each week and there was no afternoon nap. I think that really helped my daughter and also us to be school ready. So the first day didn’t cause a panic attack for my wife and me.
The school had arranged staggered timing for the first day for drop-offs, meaning there was no mad rush of all the kids and parents. Instead, kids were grouped into 3 slots according to their surnames and asked to come at slightly different times. That helped with the parking issue too. I wish that was the case every day. 🙁
Once inside, finding the desired prep room was another task. Prep grade itself was divided into 6 rooms each one with around 20 kids and a teacher. Thankfully, there was a lady with a map who helped us with the route as the school was nothing short of a maze. Once my daughter was inside, the teacher gave us prep kit given by Victoria state government and a lovely poem.
The prep kit contained a variety of leaflets including a few from state government such as Numeracy and Literacy tips, being SunSmart, health assessment program, parent counselling helpline and a letter from Deputy Minister of Education welcoming students. The state government also provided 5 children books as a gift for prep students and a memory card game. Pretty thoughtful!
The classroom itself was very cozy and decorated with plenty of charts, artwork and toys. Every effort was made to ensure that kids will instantly feel comfortable. Another good thing about Prep was that they had their own play area. I felt especially relieved because I was always concerned about the junior kids getting bullied by the seniors.
Well, it was a time to say bye and as usual, that caused a lot of flood of tears from my daughter. With the promise of picking her up soon and comfort from the teacher, she finally let us go.
Here are key takeaways:
- When daycare starts preparing kids for schools, please take an active part in it. I know a few parents thought that it is daycare’s responsibility to provide lunch. That they will not pack lunchboxes or afternoon snacks for their kids. But trust me the preparation is as much for parents as it is for kids. If your kid is not going to daycare then start the practice of packing lunch and snacks at home a few weeks earlier. This will help a lot on D-day.
- Make sure you know the route to the school beforehand and especially, the parking slots. School time is a very busy time and finding a parking spot is as precious as finding a treasure. So please make sure that you are aware of all the streets and the parking rules thereon. Some areas don’t allow street-side parking during school hours. So please take a note of that if you don’t want a parking ticket.
- Register for a before and after school daycare if the school has one. You never know when you may need it. Plus, you will only pay when you use it.
- Keep plenty of time in hand for drop-off and pick-up, especially for the first few days as you and your kid are new to the surroundings.
- The first day is very stressful and tiring for kids. So be gentle and kind to them.
- Arriving on time is important and being late is considered rude. So keep plenty of buffer time to avoid delays.
- Do some mock drills a few days before the school starts. This will help stay calm on an actual day.
Lastly, it is an incredibly emotional and happy experience of dropping your kid on their first day to school. So take plenty of pictures to cherish that memory. How was your experience of your kid’s first day of school in Australia? Was it stressful or fun? Write in the comments below.