One parent allowed per pre-schooler for orientation

One fully-vaccinated parent or carer per child will be allowed on Central Coast school sites to support pre-schoolers as they start Kindergarten orientation, under new COVID-safe guidelines.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, said the move would allow parents to be a part of an important milestone in their child’s life.

Mitchell said that under new guidelines which came into effect on November 8; one fully-vaccinated parent or carer would be allowed on school sites per pre-schooler for orientation; all components of the orientation that include parents and carers will be held outside; and orientation activities would be held separate to other cohorts of students at the school.

“Keeping all students on site COVID-safe remains our priority and these new guidelines strike the right balance between supporting our pre-schoolers and their parents, and keeping schools safe,” Mitchell said.

“Kindergarten orientation is not only important for our littlest learners, it is also important for schools to get to know new parents and establish those strong connections with families from the outset that will help our newest students thrive.”

The changes come alongside a range of new resources which have been developed for families and educators of NSW preschool children ahead of their transition to primary school in 2022.

The resources form part of the Transition to School Program and are focused on enhancing connections between home, school and early childhood education services.

Mitchell said the resources showcased how schools could tailor support to ensure students were engaged and ready to learn.

“We have a strong commitment to supporting students, families and educators through the transition phase to school, as we know this sets up our students for long-term success,” she said.

“By equipping our educators with the latest research and practical strategies, schools can meet the learning and wellbeing needs of all students and encourage year-on-year student improvement.”

The resources, which include interactive webinars, professional learning activities, and case studies, facilitate collaboration between early childhood education services and schools.

Meanwhile, more restrictions have also eased to allow additional activities safely at school in line with current community settings.

Changes include allowing fully vaccinated extra-curricular providers on school sites, as well as some music classes and bands, day excursions and assemblies.

From November 8 the following activities are permitted on school grounds in cohorts only: assemblies and presentations (outdoors only; excursions – day only, not overnight; incursions – activities provided on school site by external providers related to curriculum delivery or student wellbeing; dancing; music classes, bands, ensembles and lessons – for instruments that can be played with a mask only; and sport –in-school within cohort and inter-school outside school hours.

Fully vaccinated volunteers and providers are allowed on site to support school operations or fulfil specific roles, such as helping with the canteen or uniform shop.

Community use of school facilities can also go ahead from November 8, outside school hours only.

Terry Collins

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