At KiNZ Mission Heights we pride ourselves on staying connected with our whānau and community. Our first evening programme for this year was working in partnership with our local primary school, Mission Heights Primary school to organise a Parent Information Evening. It was an opportunity for the school to inform our families about what schooling will look like when their child transitions to school and how we can make the process smooth.

We aimed to have a good turnout so that the time and effort put into the event is worthwhile. 26 parents attended the session and clarified their burning questions. To meet the needs of our community, the presentation was also printed in Mandarin so families could make reference to it when the speaker was talking.

Some of the information shared prompted parents to think on ways to prepare their child for school, for example, “to foster love for reading at home”, “use small letters rather than capitals when helping children to write”, etc. The information also reiterated the value for gross and fine motor skills and the role it plays in getting tamariki ready for school. The presenter discussed examples of things parents could do at home. Most importantly, affirming self-help skills. Wei Ting, a mum said that she is confident that her daughter is well prepared with ‘skills for before starting school’ as suggested by the primary school teacher. There was also emphasis on how children will be experiencing learning in the new entrant classrooms through intentional fun filled experiences.

One immigrant parent, Dung Nguyen told me it was good for her to know how to get her child’s lunch box ready (portion size, content, etc.) and also informed about when to send her child to school as she made sense of information shared. At the Centre, we hold a ‘lunch box day’ a week for children over four and half years to prepare them and their whānau for the transition process.

On reflection, it felt good listening to the presentation, as the curriculum we offer at our Centre helps ngā tamariki to transition to school smoothly and is inclusive of the learning dispositions of the NZ School Curriculum. It also reaffirms the information we have been sharing with our whānau reguarly.

Our current internal evaluation is focusing on supporting ngā tamariki with their communication skills, where we are supporting all akonga to become confident communicators. We will continue our journey of looking at our practice closely and strengthening the partnership with our local community.