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14 Aug 2019
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A solid foundation

SA’s youngest students are receiving high-quality early learning and care experiences through the mid-year Reception intake

With a mother’s instinct, Sheena Pattinson knows her four-year-old son Noah is ready to start school. “He’s always pointing out numbers and letters he recognises,” she says. “And having a bigger brother already at school is an incentive.”

Sheena and Noah are one of 17 families joining the mid-year Reception intake at Star of the Sea School in Henley Beach. With his mother working four days a week, Noah has previously spent time at a Montessori preschool. “He’s very school-ready,” Sheena says. “He socialises well.”

Most Catholic primary schools now offer a mid-year intake for children who turn five years old on or before October 31, and many preschools are also offering a mid-year start to meet the needs of children and families.

“In a changing world for families, we believe we need to be flexible and responsive to what they are asking for,” says Bruno Vieceli, assistant director, Religious Identity and Leading Learning for Catholic Education SA. “There is a large body of research that shows the benefit of high-quality early learning and care experiences for children in their first 1000 days of life, and in the years prior to school.”

Students who start in Term 3 are likely to spend 18 months in Reception before progressing to Year 1. Sheena spoke to other parents and had involved discussions with Star of the Sea staff before making the decision. “I found out that the extra six months eases children in and gives a solid foundation for the rest of their schooling,” she says. “Star of the Sea has a program of learning through play. The classroom opens on to the oval and there is a nature play area with a mud kitchen and water-play table.”

The mid-year intake has had two transition visits while the parents have had an orientation meeting with the teachers. Star of the Sea also has a highly-regarded transition program offered in the term before Reception. Called Little Stars, its child initiated play is a pathway to learning through play-related activities.

Most Catholic schools offer two intakes a year for children starting Reception. The Term 1 enrolment is for children who turn five years on or before April 30 while the Term 3 (mid-year) enrolment is for children who turn five years on or before October 31. Children who turn five from November 1 onwards start Reception at the beginning of the following year.

Parents considering a mid-year intake should discuss this possibility with their school principal.

 

Source: 2019/20 South Australian Catholic Schools, Advertiser Feature (Fourth Edition)
Words: Hamish Cooper
Photography: Russell Millard

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