St Mark’s has created a team to support this transition to school which is made up of the Director of Admissions, Dean of Lower Primary and Dean of Preschool. The team meet twice a term to discuss the transition of children turning 5 who are “flying up” to the Lower Primary, direct entrants and any support we can provide to the children and their families.
The Lower Primary runs a Transition to School Parent Information Evening twice a year to provide information about life in primary school to the parents of children turning 5 within the next year.
The close working relationship between the Preschool and the St Mark’s Lower Primary staff means that teachers discuss valuable and important information about the children transitioning to school. In the term prior to turning 5, each child receives a transition to school letter from the Dean of Lower Primary, explaining details of the transition and school visits. Throughout the school visits, the children have the opportunity to meet their teachers and classmates. They also have the opportunity to participate in all areas of school life including reading and writing programmes, and maths. This is a meaningful way to help the children understand what to expect when they start school.
Part of the Transition to School programme is a “Fly Up” ceremony which is held on the first day of the term for those children entering the Lower Primary. The Preschool children along with the Lower Primary (Years 1 to 4) attend. During the “Fly Up” ceremony, the Preschool pass the Korowai and sing “E Tu Kahikatea” to the new entrant teachers. This is a symbolic way of passing the trust to the new teachers and to the child’s new learning environment.