Kindergarten preparation program

Children enjoying their time at the Warrae Wanni centre

Muswellbrook South Public School in the Hunter Valley is having enormous success preparing little children for the adventure of starting "big school" through an innovative program.

Now in its fifth year the Prior to School Program supports children with school readiness and places them in the best position for learning when they start Kindergarten.

The program runs at the school's Warrae Wanni centre (meaning little children in the Wannaruah language) and aims to support the transition from home to school and establish a positive relationship between the school community, the parents and the children.

Data collected by Muswellbrook South showed a high level of children enrolling for Kindergarten at the school not having any prior-to-school experience. 

"We offer an intensive program incorporating early literacy and numeracy activities, music, dance, gross motor skills and art and craft in a nurturing and fun environment," said principal Rebecca Langdon.

"The Prior to School Program ensured 100% of Aboriginal children who enrolled at our school had a prior-to-school experience in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2011, we increased our school readiness aged children enrolment numbers by 100%," Ms Langdon said.

The Prior to School Program supported the students both socially and academically, she said.

"The benefits for students are numerous, they acquire the skills and knowledge to be ready for school, establish friendship groups and become familiar with the school environment and above all are given a solid foundation for learning early literacy and numeracy skills," Ms Langdon said.

At the end of the program data showed 95% of students could recognise their name, 88% could write their name and 81% could recognise basic 2D shapes, she said.

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