I'm not gonna lie, I'm quietly freaking out.
Although I am pretty much telling everyone I know. and posting it on social media and writing a blog about it, so its not quietly freaking out, its quite loudly I think.
Scarlett turned 5 yesterday and is off to school in 2 weeks!
Its all a bit over whelming and I'm not sure what are the steps to take, am I forgetting stuff to do or forgetting things to ask the school?
There is no one actually telling you what to expect, what practical steps you need to be taking and what questions you need to ask.
I decided to do a bit of a checklist as in all honesty you seem to be expected to magically know how everything works and how to enroll you kid.
I like to know the breakdown of things and what to expect ect. and I thought you might like to know too. So this is how it all went down and the things that I had to do, the questions you might like to ask and also a rough cost of some of the items that might be required to get your kid "school ready".
I also just have to note that this is a New Zealand state school, and not every school will be the same of course. It is just gives you a general idea and how the process was for me.
1. Make contact
6-9 months or so prior to their 5th birthday, contact your local school via email, just to make contact and let them know that you have a child turning 5 and are wanting to enroll them.
2. Collect the required documents.
A couple of months out you can either visit the school or be contacted by the school or you can make contact again and they will ask you to bring in or email a bunch of documents including a...
Tenancy Agreement (if you are renting)
Land Rates (if you own your own home)
Latest Electricity account
(I just took photos of all the documents and sent them in via email).
You might at this point be told what days they will have her school visits on which will most likely be 1 day a week (for 1 or 2 hours) on the two weeks leading up to school starting date.
3. Information booklet
I was sent an information booklet via email which had uniform requirements, mission statement, health and safety info ect. which gave me a good idea of what the school was about and what was needed of me in terms of the uniform.
4. Enrollment form
An enrollment form will be sent out to you, fill this out and bring it back to the school. I'm not gonna lie this took me ages lol.
5. School uniform/ appropriate school clothes
If your school has uniforms, check out what requirements there are in the info booklet they gave you.
Each school may have a school uniform shop or a local shop in which the uniform will be stocked at. The uniform shop may only be open for an hour a week so make sure you get organised on this one.
Uniforms can be so expensive, (well expensive for me), all my kids have ever had in terms of clothing has been 95% hand me downs, so a brand new uniform set us back almost $200! which was a lot for us.
If you can get second hand uniforms then try that, ask around on your local Facebook pages or at the school also.
Make sure to label your kids school uniform, I asked around about this and many just write on the clothes with a sharpie, some buy iron on labels and some sew labels on, its up to you.
If there is no school uniform make sure the clothes are appropriate, easy to take on and off by themselves. Get them to practice doing up their own zippers and buttons.
It is also a good idea to get them to wear their school shoes for a week or so to make sure they are 'broken in' and wont give them blisters.
6. Yearly school fees
These vary from school to school and although they are voluntary it is widely known that it has become essential in NZ Schools. Without them the school would not be able to provide the extras for your child.
Ours were $120 but they can range from $50 per child up to $400.
In my information pack from the school it said that you buy your school pack from Office Max online, or in store. I went online and tried to figure out what to search for for AAAGGGGEESSSS! I spent 10 minutes searching around for the magical "bundles of stationary for each age group".
I gave up and emailed the receptionist at the school who just told me to buy it at the first school visit.
My lovely friend Chloe gave me the link however, so for next time I can get it sent to my door :) Click HERE and it will take you to the magical school stationary place that eluded me for so long.
8. School visit
This will often be 2 days either in succession (like a Wednesday or Thursday), or it will be over two weeks (like two Wednesdays in a row).
At school visits you will take them to the school reception/office usually and then be taken through to a classroom with the other pupils.
The parents then left and we had a meeting with a teacher about homework and what the kids will get in terms of learning.
(I have no idea if this happens at all schools, let me know in the comments what the school visit was like for you and your child :)
9. Lunch box requirements/restrictions/ allergies
There was no requirements as such that I was told about. But every school will be different and possibly every class too. I was not planning on giving peanut butter in Scarlett's lunchbox but as a parent of an "allergy kid", (you can read about it HERE), I am very aware and happy to accommodate other kids needs (those needs being... NOT DYING).
Each school across the country promotes "healthy lunches" to promote learning. I'm not going to lie... I feel a blog post or 2 might be written about this lol, and it might be a bit of a learning curve for me on this one, I will keep you posted.
10. Basic things that they will need
Drink bottle and lunch box
Uniform/ or clothes suitable for school
What extra things can you do to help your child prepare for school?
Get them to take on and off their shoes so they can tie their laces or take off and do up buckles.
Teach them how to open up their lunchbox and drink bottle.
They need to be able to go to the toilet independently (be able to open the toilet stall door, close it behind them, lock it and unlock it again) and wash their hands and also blow their nose by themselves.
Teach them how to take on and off sweatshirts and coats.
It can also help them if they are able to know the names of colours and basic shapes, know the letters of the alphabet and numbers 1-9. Hold a pencil correctly, use scissors, recognize and write their own name.
Its such a crazy time when your child starts school, but it is a time where they will start to learn more intensely and it can be such an exciting experience :)