It’s hard enough when you relocate yourself from across the country (or across the globe), but when you are relocating with children, it adds another element of complexity.
There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration and schooling is one of those. Being well prepared and having done your research will help ensure the move goes smoother. Here are some tips for those of you relocating with children.
Write a “To Do List” of all the things you need to do as part of your move. Then you can tick them off as you get them done.
To avoid glitches that would add further stress, group together any information your new school will need to process your child’s transfer. That may include the most recent report card or transcript, birth certificate and medical records.
The School Year in the Southern Hemisphere is Different
As you most likely already realise, the seasons are switched in the southern hemisphere. This affects the school year down under. The school year is divided into four terms with two week breaks between Terms 1 and 2, Terms 2 and 3, Terms 3 and 4. Summer holiday’s is around Christmas and is usually a 6 week break at the end of the school year.
Websites For Australian School Terms
There is also an “age cutoff date” for starring school in Australia. Each state varies, so you will need to do your research about this, depending on which state you are relocating to.
Prepare Your Children For the Move
- Start talking with your child about the move well in advance including the opportunities and challenges that they may face. It can either be a daunting or exciting process. It often comes down to how it is managed.
- Ask your child to write a list of things he/she would like to have in his/her new school, new home or neighbourhood.
- Ask your child to make a list of the things he/she is looking forward to about his/her new school.
- Ask your child to make a list of the things they are worried about and take the time to discuss each issue on the list.
- Try to help create a sense of excitement about their new home. Find out about fun and entertaining or unique things and places your new country will have. Give them the chance to ask all the questions they may have. Involve them in deciding what they will take or leave behind. Allow them some decision-making. It will help them feel that they have some say in what is happening to them.
- Request or take a collection of your child’s work to bring to the new school.
- Make a scrapbook of people, activities and memories from your child’s old school.
- Make a contact list of friends from your child’s old school and neighbourhood.
- Plan a farewell party.
About Our Schools
- There are two schools of thought about “the right time to move.” Some experts say that summer is the best time because it avoids disrupting the school year. Others say that midyear is better because a child can meet other kids right away. However, often is simply comes down to when the Mum or Dads new job starts.
- Each state has slightly different start and finish times, so it is worth understanding what they are. Also, it can often be hard to organise inspections of schools during school holidays, so you need to take this into consideration
- There are three types of schools (Public schools), Private Faith (Catholic, Jewish, Anglican) schools and Independent Private Schools in Australia. School fees also vary enormously between schools, so you should definitely do some research about this.
- Consider the location of your children’s school when choosing a home.
- Start your research before you leave your country of origin. The school system in Australia is very different from overseas. With regards to public schools, we work off a “zoned school area” which means if you want your children to attend a certain public school, they need to live “in the zone” (or catchment area).
- Make a list of the schools in your new area and show it to your child. If your child is old enough, talk about the options with your child.
- Organise to visit a range of schools and meet with the principals of each new school.
- The curriculum can differ from state to state, even from school to school. So it is worth asking lots of questions when you go to inspect the schools.
- Ask about strategies the new school has for helping new children adjust to the school – a buddy system, for example.
- If your child has special needs, talk to the new school about its facilities. If you’re moving interstate, your child’s abilities and eligibility for assistance might need to be re-assessed.
- Walk around the grounds and buildings of the new school with your child. This will help your child get to know where the important things are located.
- Talk to your new neighbours. Perhaps your child can meet some classmates for a playdate before the first day at school.
Useful Public School Websites:
Useful Private School Websites: