A Positive Start to School

Wondering if your child is ready to start their early childhood education journey in a kindergarten program?

We asked Deputy Principal - Head of Junior School, Mr Chris Lawson, at Yarra Valley Grammar (Early Learning to Year 12) to outline the benefits of starting early.


“One of the first formal learning environments is normally a kindergarten, which may or may not be linked with childcare. A kindergarten program is a planned educational curriculum that looks at a child’s stage of development and then constructs a program to develop those skills as the child grows and matures. Language development, fine and gross motor development, learning about differences in people and cultures, setting routines, learning to listen and share with others as well as learning to express themselves creatively are important aspects of a kindergarten program.”

“When I first meet young children and their families who want to come into our programs, I look to see that the child is becoming more independent and that they are able to speak to me and perhaps tell a little about their family, their likes, dislikes, pets or favourite foods and games. I always expect initial shyness, but I look at how children react when I walk them into one of our rooms. An independent child will generally walk over towards groups of children and watch what they are doing. Sometimes they join in and don’t want to leave! Following directions from me or a parent to come back inside, pack up toys or look at something different is also a positive sign.”

Based on what he has seen over a number of years, Chris has the following tips to provide a positive start for your child:

  • Be a parent, not a best friend. This means setting expectations and being consistent.
  • Set regular routines and family rules. Bedtime and mealtime are good places to start.
  • Read regularly to your child from a young age.
  • Provide opportunities to mix with other children. This may start with playgroup and might later include music, library visits, gym or swimming.
  • Provide a wide range of experiences for your child and explain things that they see. This helps with understanding and language development. It doesn’t have to involve great expense!
  • Don’t jump in and solve a problem for a child. Let them try first and perhaps suggest things to them, depending on age. Positive comments, smiles and praise work really well when a child achieves a new milestone. (But don’t go overboard!)
  • As children grow older, encourage them to explain what they are doing or thinking. Using their language is really important and will probably lead to fewer physical reactions like hitting or biting.
  • Always provide some quality ‘cuddle time’.

“If I see a child who does not appear to be ready to enter a kindergarten program, I will make alternative recommendations to the family. Such cases are not too common, but I find that parents do respect advice and are always willing to do what they can to give their child the best chance to succeed in their learning.”

Yarra Valley Grammar is a coeducational school from Early Learning right through to Year 12 located in Ringwood, Melbourne. It offers full-day kindergarten programs in the Early Learning Centre, 8:45am to 3pm. From three years old, children can enter two or three-day programs and as a four-year-old they may choose from a three, four or five-day program. Teaching staff are degree-qualified Early Years educators and we offer a play-based curriculum.

In 2016, their Centre was awarded Exceeding the National Quality Standard by ACECQA (The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority) across all seven assessed areas.

Visit yvg.vic.edu.au to learn more or to book a tour of the school.

This is a sponsored post by Yarra Valley Grammar



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