Starting school | Reception students Starting school is a really exciting milestone, and that's why we celebrate it.

Whether your child is starting school in Term 1 or Term 3 as a Mid-Year Reception, we know this is a significant moment and why we actively support every child’s wellbeing, happiness and independence as they build relationships, explore new learning and transition to being a successful student.

Our Reception classrooms offer a welcoming and stimulating environment, which provides thoughtful, inspiring and challenging learning experiences. We ensure that your child is nurtured and inspired during this exciting time in their learning journey.

Your child is a capable and competent learner, and in Reception they explore and discover their strengths through a holistic programme designed to ignite wonder and curiosity, finding joy at every turn.

A strong sense of belonging, underpinned by high quality teaching and learning, is an important feature of their time with us. Our nurturing environment ensures every student feels they are known, seen and heard in every aspect of their education.

We believe children are never too young to be challenged, and we help them achieve their goals driven by a genuine love of learning. Teachers develop a rich picture of every student’s learning successes, strengths and challenges, and each child is supported to grow and develop to their full potential. Most importantly, our students develop confidence, capability and self-worth that are great assets to them in their journey through their school life and beyond.


Orientation visits

To foster a positive and successful transition to Reception and school life at Mercedes College, our orientation visits provide your child with an insight into daily school life, routines, and expectations and familiarise them with their new learning environment. They also provide a valuable opportunity to your child begin to build relationships with their classmates and our Reception teachers prior to them officially beginning school.

To foster a positive and successful transition to Reception and school life at Mercedes College, our orientation visits provide your child with an insight into daily school life, routines, and expectations and the opportunity to visit their new learning environment. They also provide a valuable opportunity to start building relationships with their classmates and our Reception teachers before they officially start school.


Getting school-ready
Parents play an important role in their child’s education. You are your child’s first teachers. During the early childhood years, parents help their children develop skills, attitudes, and values that form the basis for later learning. Parents remain an important link between home and school.

After your child’s orientation visits to Mercedes College, walk around the grounds and talk with them about the different buildings and play areas. It’s also a great idea to clearly label personal belongings, and to familiarise your child with them.

Here are 10 activities that you can do with your child to help prepare them for school:

  1. Discuss starting school and help your child to feel relaxed and positive about this new stage in their life.
  2. Discuss what will happen at school; explain the difference between morning snack, recess and lunchtime, and talk about the class teacher.
  3. Familiarise your child with their personal school belongings. Clearly label all belongings and help your child to identify their name.
  4. Help your child to extend a range of skills and abilities within your home and environment; look for letters and numbers around you, shop and cook together, sing songs and rhymes, and read stories together.
  5. Encourage your child to speak clearly – to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ confidently. Correcting speech errors.
  6. Help develop and support your child’s concentration and perseverance; complete puzzles, games and simple activities, and listen to music.
  7. Provide your child with varied social experiences. Your child will be learning to establish friendships and feelings of trust with new peers and new adult figures in their lives – the Physical Education, French, Art and Music teachers, and other visitors.
  8. Practice your journey to Mercedes College before school starts.
  9. Be a good listener and offer positive encouragement.
  10. Encourage regular sleep patterns and bed time.

Starting school
We welcome and encourage parents and caregivers to talk with us about your child, and to take an active interest in the classroom. Open communication between the home and school is vital, so always get in touch if you'd like to find our more or talk about any aspects of your child's education.

We encourage independence in the Junior School and recommend letting your child to attempt things independently from the first day – and trust and believe that they will be successful! We will encourage students to unpack thier belongings in the morning, pack away games and work when completed, eat their recess and lunch, visit the toilet when necessary and be responsible for their own belongings.

We need your support in communicating to us any matters that could possibly affect your child’s wellbeing, such as illness, family absences or upsets, or any matters that may disrupt their usual routine or explain new behaviours.

We appreciate the support of parent helpers who participate in a wide range of school experiences where possible, such as excursions, special events, assemblies, and special classroom activities and events.

Here are some tips to help you and your child as they begin school in Reception:

  • A balanced breakfast is the key to a good day, and this is especially true when children are adapting to the school routine. 
  • Include a piece of fruit or a vegetable snack each day for their morning snack time. 
  • During their first weeks at school, you may consider putting extra-curricular classes (such as music or swimming lessons) on hold to enable your child to settle into school. 
  • In the first weeks of school, we aim to settle the students into the school environment and establish school routines. We recommend following the same before and after school routines each day at home to assist this process, including plenty of time to talk with you about their day and play at home.
  • Have a set morning routine and be punctual so your child arrives on time, ready to learn. School begins at 8:35am.
  • In the mornings, we will initially set up free play/investigation activities so your child can enter the room to play and socialise with independence. 
  • Be aware that tired and irritable behaviour is common for young Reception students until they adjust to the longer days and a more structured environment. Try to give your child extra support and understanding during this period of adjustment. 

Building resilience
Some children may be anxious when saying goodbye to their parents at the start of the school day. This can occur at any time, particularly in the first couple of weeks of starting school and is quite normal.

Teachers will help your child build their resilience if they become anxious. A great way you can help build their resilience is to organize playdates with trusted friends or family, where you leave your child for a short time.


Healthy morning snack, recess and lunch

Children are encouraged to bring a piece of fruit, vegetable sticks or cheese to eat. To make it easy for your child, please have their healthy snack packed ready to eat. Small portions of a variety of foods are often very popular. Please avoid packaged foods. Sharing food is not permitted. 

Children eat recess on the benches outside the classroom before playing.

Lunch is eaten outside under the Junior School Marquee, and supervised by our teacher/s on yard duty. To help foster a sense of belonging to a special community within our Junior School, and eat before playtime, children are not able to leave this area until the ‘play bell’ rings. To ensure they have eaten sufficiently, we encourage children to show us what's left in their lunch box before playing.

Tip: Choose a sturdy lunch box and water bottle that your child can easily open and close. And, check the water bottle is leak proof when closed.


Café lunch orders

Children ordering their lunch from the Café will need a paper bag with their name, class and order written on the front. This paper bag needs to be placed in the Lunch Order basket in their classroom each morning. You can also order your child’s lunch using the online booking system called My Student Account. Lunch orders are collected and returend to each class just prior to lunchtime.

Please note that orders are only available for lunch, so please remember to pack a snack and recess. Reception students are not able to go to the Café during the recess time break.

Reception students are able to visit the Café at lunchtime after they have finished eating. We suggest that children who want to purchase from the Café have a labelled wallet/purse in their school bag with no more than $3.

Arriving ready to learn

Supervision is provided for our Junior School students in the Rose Garden (gardens at the front of Strathspey) from 8:20am, until the first bell.

During wet weather, student's are supervised under the Junior School Marquee.

Please encourage your child to organise their own belongings for school, prompting if needed. This is their first step to building personal responsibility and your child will benefit greatly from your encouragement.

Children need to bring the following items into the classroom:

  1. Green Communication Bag
  2. Healthy snack
  3. Water bottle
  4. Sharing Day item (if it is their turn)
  5. Lunch order (if required)

End of the school day

School finishes at 3:20pm. If you are collecting your child from the classroom, please wait outside the classroom until the group is dismissed.

If an older sibling is collecting your child, please ask them to collect the younger child from their classroom.


Library Bag and Communication Pouch

  • Reception students have a green Communication Pouch, availalbe from the College Shop, that we will use to send books, information, notes and artwork home to you. Plesae check this bag each day.

  • Students also use a cloth Library Bag, approximately 30cm wide and 40cm long, with their name on it, to borrow and return library books.


Communicating with your child’s teacher

There are many opportunities for teachers and parents/caregivers to communicate. If you have something that you would like to speak to your child’s teacher about, please send a Direqt Message via SEQTA Engage and your child's teacher will contact you.

You are also welcome to arrange a time to meet. Meetings are usually best held before or after school, excluding Tuesday afternoons.


Seesaw App

To share what we are doing in our classroom, learning intentions, assessment and reporting we use the Seesaw App for our Reception students.

Seesaw is used to document student learning as it happens in the classroom and share the process of tasks right from the beginning. This is a three-way communication tool between teacher, student and parent/caregiver.

Your child’s class teacher will provide you with information about the Seesaw App.


Junior School Bulletin

Each Friday, the Junior School Office sends parents/caregivers a SEQTA Engage Direqt Message with information about pending events.


School Calendar

The Mercedes College Calendar lists all events and is regularly updated.

Absence

If your child is going to be absent from school, please let us know via:

Please tell us your child's name, reason and expected duration for absence from school.

If your child arrivesafter 8.50am they need to sign in at Strathspey Reception.

Planned long-term absence from school require the approval by the Head of Junior School. You can seek an exemption to attend by contacting our Head of Junior School via telephone or sending a SEQTA Engage message.

SEQTA Engage

You can use SEQTA Engage to receive important information and message. Ww will regularly send you Direqt Messages with important information about your child, College events and so on. 

Each student's parent/caregiver has their own SEQTA Engage account linked to their own unique email address. SEQTA Engage is available in web browsers, as well as an iOS and Android App. You will receive a user guide and an activation email when you join Mercedes College.

You can find out more about SEQTA Engage and read our SEQTA Engage Mercedes College Parent Guide.