School's in for new students

Grace Peters, who will be starting Year 7 at Caroline Chisholm College after graduating from St Mary MacKillop Primary

Grace Peters starts high school next week. Photo: Melinda Jane.

The countdown is now officially on for students heading to primary or high school for the very first time, with Term 1 starting in just over a week.

Grace Peters, who will be starting Year 7 at Caroline Chisholm College after graduating from St Mary MacKillop Primary, is feeling overwhelmingly positive ahead of the big day. "I'm very excited," she said.

I'm looking forward to seeing how different high school is to primary school.

Grace's mum Sonya is the Wellbeing Leader at Caroline Chisholm College.

Having seen hundreds of new students and parents walk through the school gates each year, she admits not everyone is as optimistic as Grace.

"There's always lots of big emotions. Lots of excitement, fear, apprehension, curiosity, and some wonder about beginning their new learning adventure at high school," she said.

With not long to go until many will take their child through high school for the first time, she has a few tips to make the most of the lead up.

"It's really important for students to be resetting their sleep cycle and really preparing for normal school routines using an old-fashioned alarm clock," she said.

"You should also be researching stationary and equipment requirements, uniform expectations and college websites, creating a quiet study space at home, and also practicing getting to and from school, and discussing with parents what to do in unexpected circumstances."

With the idea of timetables, multiple teachers, and new subjects completely foreign for many students heading to high school, Catherine Easterbrook, Year 7 Leader of Learning at Caroline Chisholm College, said that it's important to embrace these changes, rather than letting it get the better of them.

"It is normal to be nervous," she said. "Rather than focusing on what's going to be different from primary school, try to look at it from the perspective of experiencing new things."

Easterbrook also reminds students that support systems will be bountiful.

"What Year 7 students tend to forget is that there's always going to be someone there to help them," she said.

They've got their teachers, their homeroom teachers, their peer support leaders - ask for help if you get lost or if you need a hand.

And this is just the same for those heading into Kindergarten this year, with St Mary MacKillop Kindergarten teacher, Nicole Darby, noting just how much of a milestone it is for both children and parents.

"It's so important to enjoy the moment. It's not something that happens all the time - it's okay to have a little tear!" she said.

"It's a big deal if it's your last kid coming through Kindergarten, if it's your last kid, if it's your second kid. Take lots of photos and embrace it."

When it comes to getting little ones ready for the big day, Darby recommends practicing activities like writing their name, counting to 10 or 20, and cutting and gluing to give them a head start.

But, most importantly, she's reminding parents that everything will be okay no matter what.

"If they have tears, it will be alright, and we'll give them lots of cuddles during the day!" she said.