Questions to ask schools about Prep.

New beginnings!
February 17, 2022
The water came up and up and up and we had to get out!
March 3, 2022

It seems incredibly early to be talking about Prep when children are still settling into kindy, however a number of local schools have opened up out-of-catchment enrolment applications for Prep 2023. Parents have different criteria for choosing schools, particularly when it’s for the oldest child in the family. Considerations such as proximity to home, school size or support for diverse learning are on many a mind. For some parents it is an easy decision, while for others the decision-making process can be extremely painstaking.

When asked about parents’ decisions, the very common response was that the school had a good ‘feel’. This is hard to explain and different for all families. The list of questions below may provide a starting point to gather information. Pick and choose the ones you feel are most relevant for your child. It is important to remember that your child will most likely be at the same school for many years, so take a look at whole-of-school information as well as the early days for Prep. Like all organisations, schools in COVID times have had to be flexible and make adjustments. This may influence some answers particularly in relation to whole-of-school events and contact with parents.

Some questions to consider:

  • How do you help children transition? How do preps start the year? Does the school have suggestions to help children prepare for prep?
  • What is the daily routine? Outside? Inside? Are the prep children involved in whole school activities?
  • What about behaviour support?
  • What are expectations about homework?
  • What happens with lunch boxes, bags, notices?
  • What about water bottles? Are children encouraged to drink?
  • What about dropping off and collecting?
  • How are different learning styles catered for (eg physically active, quiet)?
  • How much choice do children have in classroom/playground?
  • What flexibility do classes have in terms of timetabling?
  • What teacher aide time is allocated to each class? Does this change throughout year?
  • How do the prep staff support or assist children with meal breaks, play breaks, playground, toilet, OSH, Assemblies/carnivals/music/library/swimming/ICT?
  • What learning support resources are available?
  • What are my options for communicating both with my child’s classroom teacher and Administration?
    How are parents contacted in case of accident/emergency?
  • How is the school preparing to meet Australian Curriculum standards? What effect does this have on Prep?
  • What if my child doesn’t cope with 5 days at the beginning of the year?