Family & Lifestyle

Preparing for a new school year

The start of a new school year can be an exciting and stressful time for everyone. A healthy and productive year begins when you and your kids create a plan for those first few weeks.

Every new school year is a new chapter – whether it’s kindergarten or year 12. Here’s our guide to getting ready for the new school year.


For kids going to school for the first time, the list tends to be short and cute:

  • wet wipes
  • a hat
  • a spare pair of socks and underwear in a plastic bag
  • a jumper
  • roll-on sunscreen
  • lunch box, and
  • drink bottle.

Your child will need something to eat at lunchtime and recess, but it’s important to be mindful of other kids’ allergies to nuts, dairy and wheat. Guidelines like this and the kindergarten staff will let you know the types of foods your child should bring to class.

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Primary school

The list starts to grow longer with the start of primary school. The school should provide a list of specific items needed, and the school dress code. Here’s a starting point:

  • lunch box
  • water bottle
  • pencil case with pencil, pens, ruler, pencil sharpener, eraser
  • library bag
  • music bag and musical instruments (like a recorder) and,
  • backpack to safely carry everything
  • uniform, including shirts or polo shirts, jumpers, tunics, skirts, shorts or trousers (depending on their preference and what the school allows)
  • shoes and socks
  • raincoat or umbrella
  • winter Coat, beanie and gloves
  • summer hat, and
  • sports uniform including sneakers, socks, shorts and a polo top.

Let your children choose as much as possible, within practical limits and the school guidelines. It will help them prepare and get excited, while warding off the social death which can come when parents choose practical but tragically uncool lunchboxes, school shoes or other school supplies.

High School

By the time a child reaches high school, you should both be familiar with the things they need at the start of each year. They may need more sophisticated tools, like scientific calculators, protractors, compasses and other drawing and art supplies. They will definitely have a list of text books they need — if the school does not provide these, they can often be bought second-hand.

Easing into the school routine

Most schools start their first term at the end of January, after a gloriously-long holiday (for kids anyway!).

You can set your child up for an easier transition by bringing a bit more structure into their day a few days before school starts. Make sure they get enough sleep and have breakfast in the morning. Encourage older children to spend some time reading in the evening, at the same sort of time they’ll be doing their homework once school is underway.

Getting ready for the new year helps everyone prepare, and sets the tone for a happy and productive new chapter.

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