New Entrants Starting School

Below are commonly asked questions by our New Entrant Parents.  Further enrolment information can be found on the enrolment page eg: School Zone.

When can I enrol my child?

You can enrol your child at any time by visiting our office or emailing our admin team (office@greytown.school.nz) who can contact you with further information.  You can enrol your child years in advance if you would like, however, most parents enrol their child 6-12 months prior to starting.  The earlier you enrol your child the easier it is for us to plan our classrooms and staffing, as well as keep you up to date with important information eg: school visits, parent events etc.

Can my child start school before they are 5?

No, you can fill out the forms and enrol your child before they are five,  however, they cannot legally begin school before their fifth birthday.

Does my child have to start on their fifth birthday…what is the “right” time to start them?

The majority of our children start on their fifth birthday or the beginning of the week following, however, a small number of children start at the beginning of the following term if there birthday is in the last fortnight.  Legally your child does not need to start school before their 6th birthday.

Starting on or as close to their 5th birthday is our preference, however, if you would like to come in and discuss this further with Patrice O’Connor to see what is right for you and your child..ring or pop in to make an appointment to see her.

Together we can help you make an informed choice that sets your child up for success.

Will my child start school more confidently if I wait for their friends to come with them?

In a simple answer no, not necessarily.

Many of our children walk into our New Entrant classes and instantly recognise other children they have met before.  They may be children who have previously been at their early childhood centres or children they know from sports clubs etc

We often see children making new friends within the first hours of school.  Very few of our children do not make friends within the first few days of school.  If this happened we have lots of “tricks” up our sleeves to help them.

We will do everything that we can to ensure that your child makes a confident and happy start to school.  Over the first few days, we will give them buddies in the class who will take them out to play and spend extra time with them in class.

How do I enrol my New Entrant and set up school visits?

As stated above you can enrol your child at any time, however the more advanced notice you give us the better it is.  With our 5-year-olds, this is important as once you are enrolled Megan Wall (Office Administrator) and the New Entrant Team can contact you to set up visits with the class.  

How do I organise school visits? How many do we need?

Once you have put your name down at the school office indicating that you are wanting your child to come here and when they will start; Megan Wall (Office Administrator) will contact you to discuss school visits.  These “typically” start about a month before your child starts school and are on a Wednesday morning.

There is no right number of visits.  Some children are happy with one.  Some need a few more.  You can discuss that with Megan when she contacts you and it will be based on what is best for your child.

Do I need to come to my child’s school visits?

As your child is not legally enrolled at our school until the day they start, we are required by law to have an adult attend with the child on their school visit.  This can be a parent, caregiver, grandparent or even a family friend.  For some early childhood centres, there is the possibility of coming to visits within a group with a staff member.  School visits are on a Wednesday mornings, unless there is a whole school event that may impact this.  On these occasions, we will let you know of the change beforehand.

New Entrant Parent Evenings.

Once you have enrolled your new entrant child we will contact you with an invitation to attend a parent evening.  This is held at the end of the term prior to your child starting school.  On this evening you will have an opportunity to

  • Meet the principal and team (If you haven’t already!)
  • Look around the class.
  • Meet other parents of children starting in the same term as your child/children.
  • Learn about Greytown School learning values, SHARP values, and other important events, routines and systems.
  • Learn about the typical day for a 5-year-old.
  • Ask questions (Big and small!)

Year 0 or Year 1….?

This often confuses parents and Patrice our principal can talk you through what this means at the New Entrant evening.  She is also happy to discuss this with you prior to this evening if you have questions.  All you need to do is make an appointment with our office, email her at principal@greytown.school.nz  or make a time with the office for her to contact you by phone to discuss it.  

Please do not “delay” a start to school thinking this will be better for their year group classification.  These classifications are based on a child’s birthday, not the start date.   Come in and have a talk so we can make informed choices together.

What is the year group classification difference?     

  • In a “simple explanation” –
    • Your child is classified as a Year 1 if their birthday (not start date to school) is between the 1st January and the 30th June. 
    • Your child is classified as a Year 0 if their birthday (not start date to school) is between the 1st of July and the 31st December. 
  • This is their Ministry of Education (MOE) funding level and it is how we are funded as a school for them (ie: Each year group has different funding arrangements).  Please note: at some point the MOE needs to group children into a year group. 

It is important to note the following…

  • We teach children according to where they are at, not what year group they are in ie: If we have a child who already knows how to write their name and knows their alphabet when they start school we would move on and extend them further at a higher level than a child who starts school needing to learn these foundational skills.
  • Each year group will always have children who could be up to one year age difference apart ie: the oldest child turns 7 in January while the youngest child turns 7 at the end of the year in December.   Being the youngest or the oldest in the class is not a determiner of success as each child is different in personality, academics etc and thrive in different circumstances.
  • If a child’s birthday is close to the Year 0 or Year 1 “cut off” date 1st July then both school and parents can discuss this classification further on a case by case basis, to ensure your child is classified accordingly.
  • These classifications can be changed later on if necessary (ie: mutually agreed upon by school and parents).
  • In cases of special needs or other more complex reasons (eg: Specialist reports), a classification can be changed to extend a child’s time at primary school.
  • Children legally have to be enrolled by the year they turn 14 in a college or high school.

 

How can I help my child be “ready” for school?

There are several things that help a child settle into school life more quickly than others.

There are

  • Self-help skills 
    • being toilet trained. (Please read the information below if additional support is needed in this area)
    • being able to manage their own clothes, shoes and belongings.
    • blowing their nose
    • being able to manage the packets and wrappings in their lunch box.
  • Social skills
    • being prepared to make new friends
    • being prepared to try new things
    • taking turns and sharing
    • asking for help
    • being confident to share their ideas etc…
  • Academic skills
    • can hold a pencil
    • can draw
    • know their basic colours
    • know some or all of their letters
    • can count to 10 or more
    • read their name
    • write their name etc…However please do not panic if they are still learning these academic skills, as these are some of the skills that they will learn in the first few months of being at school.

My child needs additional special support or has Special Needs.

If your child needs additional supports (eg: They are not toilet trained, have speech difficulties, behaviour, learning difficulties, other physical needs etc) then please contact us as soon as possible.  From here we can work with you and their Early Childhood centre to organise the supports, systems and overall transition ahead of time.

If your child has special needs (eg: ORS funded, High Health needs) then please let us know immediately on enrolment so we can work with their centre and specialist teams to set up their transition to school.  This can take a lot of time depending on their specific needs eg:  We will need to transfer the Ministry of Education team (Early Childhood Early Intervention Team to the Primary School Team), funding and ensuring that if they require Teacher Aide support that we have the staff employed in time for them to start school.

Let us know as soon as possible and together we can try and make the transition to school as successful as possible.

You can contact our

Enrolment Form