Programme smooths transition to school

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Two Mataura early childhood centres and the town’s school are using a programme which makes the transition to school easier for children.

Kia Ngawari Te Kohanga Reo, Hope Preschool and Mataura School are involved in the Positive Start programme.

The three gathered on Monday for a shared learning session at Hope Preschool.

The theme of the day was “under the sea”.

Mataura School principal Susan Dennison said the programme started in Christchurch after the earthquakes.

The programme was not just running in Mataura.

“We are part of the big Eastern Southland group, but equally strong is our [relationship] here in Mataura,” Mrs Dennison said.

The school already had good relationships with the two preschools, she said.

“We kept building on that,” she said.

Representatives from the three entities met several times each term and the children from the kohanga reo, Hope Preschool and the school got together once a term to share what they had been learning, she said.

The focus was on aspects of learning and language used in the school, so new pupils would build up a familiarity with school protocol, lowering children’s anxiety, she said.

If a child’s transition to school was smooth, they were more likely to be engaged and learn, Mrs Dennison said.

Mataura School deputy principal Dana Turnbull said the programme was exciting and ensured children’s transition to school went smoothly.

All the school’s participants in the day were new entrants.

Kohanga kaiako Ami Rarere said the programme was effective.

The majority of the kohanga’s children went on to Mataura Primary School, Mrs Rarere said.