Students and their families developing a sense of identity and belonging.

We’re looking for different things … new skills and literacies, solutions, information, global, creativity, media and collaboration literacies as well as digital citizenship encompass the essential skills our students need to live and work successfully in the future.

The Early Years Learning Framework contained five outcomes which clearly addressed key areas in prior-to-school settings – identity, connecting and contributing, the importance of wellbeing, being confident and involved learners and effective communicators.  These five outcomes are contained within our Australian Curriculum, in particular the General Capabilities (see white font on graphic).

The General Capabilities is a key dimension of the Australian Curriculum that encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that together with the content of each learning area, assist students to function as learners in the 21st Century.

We are on a continual journey of improvement. We want to be able to support, nurture and build those new skills and literacies and have used recent research in the area of TRANSITION to do things differently. In consultation with prior-to-school settings we have worked with the seven essential principles that guide our practice with transition.

In particular, giving attention to building relationships that support;
We acknowledge and address the following principles.

 Transition is:
• a long and complex process during which the child internalises the process of leaving their prior-to-school setting and moving to a new environment
• is ongoing – building a sense of identity and belonging
• we are all making adjustments to help your child belong
• takes place over time as each child – build on his / her identity
• each child brings their own sense of being and belonging from home and prior to school settings
• educators working together to build upon each child’s learning experiences with a focus on continuity of learning experiences and on ‘Play’.  Children MUST play.  You will see your child engaging in times of ‘free play’ which is their therapy and also times of ‘intentional play’ where there are links to the General Capabilities and learning outcomes within the Australian Curriculum. During play your child is learning new skills, constructing meaning and making greater sense of his/her world.
• ongoing discussions  –  building relationships – partnerships

‘It takes a village to raise a child’ (African proverb) – it is the partnerships required during the maturation of our youth. We are all this “village” and has never been more necessary than it is today. We live in a face-paced, instant information, and pressure-packed world. Today’s children are faced with a myriad of both challenges and opportunities. Navigating parenthood can be a daunting undertaking – home/school/community partnerships and supports are welcome and necessary to prepare our students for tomorrow.

What is your child thinking/feeling/saying about starting school?  We recognise that all children begin school visits and school with different experiences, needs and energy levels. Does your child need to:
• Visit the school on the weekend?
• Come for one extra orientation visit?
• Do you need to develop a social story (photos of school) to look and prepare for school whilst on holidays?
Decide on what best suits your child to help them orient into school and transition more smoothly.  Please contact us if your child needs more support to transition.

We recognise your child brings with him/her a rich and varied array of experiences from all facets of life.

Our ‘Building Connections’ conversations allow our Reception teachers to find out more about your child – their experiences, learning dispositions, strengths, personal and social capabilities and their home and community context. This is another element of the transition process.  We also have:
• Acquaintance Night early in Term 1
• Parent/Teacher/Child discussions end Term 1/early Term 2
• Mid and End of Year Student Report
• Ongoing informal discussions between parent/carer and teacher throughout the year when required.  We monitor how your child is transitioning and work in partnership with you to ensure s/he is managing the change and building their own identity and sense of belonging.  So too with you, we are wanting to ensure that you and your family are managing the change and in time, become a valued part of the rich fabric of our Woodend Community.  How can this occur?


• Parent Engagement is about you learning about learning.  Come in, read, share learning with parents so that you better understand the learning that occurs at school in 2016 and beyond.

• Support your child’s learning – meet the teacher/s and parents within your child’s classroom.  Ask questions, read, and collaborate so that you know what is happening in your child’s school life and feel an active part of it.

• Become involved in committees, events and social activities made available to you.  We value your ideas and input to “grow” our community of learners – adult and child. In this way we build the capacity of the school through parent/carer voice and action. We are responsive to yours and the communities’ needs as you involve yourself.

• Embrace the opportunity to network with others – collaboration is one of our greatest strengths as a community.  You may network by being present and involved at school or via communication channels set up by the school.  School is also a wonderful opportunity to develop friendships – sometimes life long friendships.  Make every effort to connect with parents/carers.


Woodend has incorporated PLAY IS THE WAY and other social and emotional learning programs such as Community Circle to target wellbeing and learning.

PLAY IS THE WAY® is a practical methodology for teaching social and emotional learning using guided play, classroom activities and an empowering language. It is a process that gives primary schools a way to develop, improve and entrench the personal and social capabilities of students.

PLAY IS THE WAY® is suitable for primary school children of all ages, abilities and ethnic backgrounds.  No particular sporting or athletic ability is required to successfully participate.

The PLAY IS THE WAY® Complete Program uses:
 • a unique program of physically interactive games 
 • key concepts to guide students through life and learning
 • a specific and empowering language to help attain self-mastery
 • a philosophy of behaviour education and student self-regulation that fosters independent, self-motivated, empathetic, life-long learners.

Wilson McCaskill is the Founder/Director of the program, Play Is The Way, and has presented workshops here at Woodend in previous years.

Bill Boylans is the Principal of Tapping Primary School in Western Australia where the purpose and ethos of the whole school centres around development of students social and emotional well being.

Wilson and Bill will work with us to consolidate our work with the programs we offer and support us in the next stages of our journey. We look forward to sharing our successes and using their expertise to improve our practices in the area of social and emotional learning.

For parents and caregivers, some great information, resources and videos can be found on the PLAY IS THE WAY website. For example the THE 4 I’s OF GOOD PARENTING and 10 TIPS FOR PARENTS. There is also a list of upcoming workshops if you would like to attend.


It is necessary that they be able to:
 • Follow simple instructions
 • Have the ability to sit and listen
 • Be able to find their own way around the school
 • Know some rules, e.g. where the no running areas are, when they can/cannot talk
 • Be ready for reading, writing, copying
 • Talk quietly – ability to work as part of a group
 • Be able to pack and unpack their own bags
 • Differentiate between work and play

It is desirable that they:
 • Be able to make friends
 • Be able to tell the difference between a healthy snack, recess, lunch

Within the first few weeks they should:
 • Write their name
 • Be able to open packaging by self
 • Feel the difference between books – maths, writing, pasting – red, green, white dots
 • Log onto a computer by themselves and type in their full name
 • Be able to count and recognise numbers

We hope that this information is valuable to you.  Please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have any further questions. We look forward to building partnerships with you and your child.