Starting School Soon?

Starting School Soon?
Thinking it through early is the key.

Starting school is an exciting yet slightly daunting milestone for many families and no less so for those whose children have additional needs.  Families say that they need clear information early in this process to guide their thinking and help them make informed decisions regarding schooling options.

The two years before school entry are key times for families to consider what is important to them in regards to schooling for their child and what options are available.  What do they need from a school to meet their child’s unique strengths and challenges? It helps families if they can find the current, relevant information about how to get answers to these questions.

EarlyEd has been supporting families as their children begin school for over forty years now and despite the temporary disruption this year we are back on track organising information and supports. After holding our annual Getting Ready for School session, held online this year, to support families to know what the processes are in 2020, in light of the COVID-19 restrictions, we thought it might be helpful to share the outcomes in a blog. We hope to offer further forums later in the year.

The information in this session is only one part of what families need to find out about. It covered the range of schools and schooling systems. How to understand the schooling systems and their differences, the varying types of support they all can offer and the process of enrolment. This information can help families map out a plan based on the timeframes and requirements needed to start a child’s schooling journey.

At the school options webinar, there was also the opportunity to share in the wisdom from a family who has recently needed to work out what schooling they wanted for their child. Hearing Paul’s story, what informed he and his wife’s decision making and how it has all worked out for them, helped us better understand the points families need to consider.

The key points from the webinar included:

  • There is a school that is right for your child.
  • Keep your options open as you investigate your choices.
  • Approach your local school (if it is a State school or Catholic School) or your independent school of choice early the year before school commences (even the year before that if any physical changes to the environment are required, e.g. ramp access) to begin the enrolment and transition process.
  • Ask to meet with the school’s leadership team to discuss any concerns you have so that the best possible supports will be in place for your child by the time school begins.
  • Ask for support from your early intervention provider with this if you feel you need it.

Look out for information about how to support meaningful inclusion at school. Interestingly COVID-19 hasn’t changed what you need to do.

Now you know what is out there you will probably be looking for information on:

  • what to do to support your child,
  • how to advocate for your child so they access what you think will make a difference to their start at school and their learning,
  • how to work with your school team to promote meaningful inclusion for your child
  • how you can use NDIS funding to support readiness for school
  • how do I share the knowledge of my child from my early intervention team with the school.?

These links and resources may also be of help to you. Look out for further sessions from EarlyEd.

We recognise that to make informed choices, families need to know what options are available as well as their child’s rights. Tell us how we can help you further.

EarlyEd is grateful to the panellists and parent who represented the following schooling systems at our Webinar on June 18th, 2020.

  • Department of Education
  • Catholic Schools NSW
  • Independent Schools

Please contact us if you would like to hear the recording of the webinar CLICK HERE.

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