Back To School – 11 Parent Resources

Back To School - 11 Parent Resources.jpg

Our eldest heads back to school today and the primary school kids start back at the end of this week. Quite sad to see the end of summer holidays.

So as the kids head back to school, in today’s post I have a collection of resources that parents can use to help support their kids learning.

1. Blanks Levels Of Questioning

This post was a guest post from Julie who now blogs at The Useful Box. Julie is a speech pathologist and mother of three. You can find out more about Julie at the end of the post, where you will also find links to excellent articles she has written on childhood speech and language development.

In her post Blanks Levels Of Questioning – Stimulating Children’s Language Development Julie goes through the ages of kids from 2 until 5 and has suggestions for questions you can use to get them talking.

2. 10 Preschooler Early Learning Activities You Can Plan Into Your Day

This post was written in my first 6 months of blogging! I list very simple ways you can encourage learning with your kids and fit it into your usual day.

10 Preschooler Early Learning Activities You Can Plan Into Your Day also has a number of links to external sites that give overviews of basic early learning concepts.

3. Teaching Number Recognition To Preschoolers

Preschooler Number recognition
Where possible when I am working with our kids on numeracy or literacy I try to make it fun and pretty much so they don’t even know I am trying to teach them. Teaching Number Recognition To Preschoolers (So they don’t know you are doing it!) gives you easy examples of how you can do it with your preschooler.

4. How To Create A Preschool Writing Box

There is a lot of steps that come before kids actually get to full blown writing. In this post How To Create A Preschool Writing Box I have Pre-writing Practice Worksheets you can download and list other items you might like to have available for your preschooler.

5. School Starting Age – Latest Research On Australian Children

This post receives quite a bit of search engine traffic, as it is an issue fretted over my many parents at some stage (including me!). School Starting Age – Latest Research On Australian Children doesn’t tell you what is the right decision for your child, but provides info on what is the starting age for each state and a summary of the latest research in Australia.

In a follow up post I share our personal experience with deciding what age to start school.

6. Setting Your Child up for “Success”

I really like this post from Kathy Walker. Setting Your Child up for “Success” is not about flash cards or rote learning but places emphasis on communication and self expression, good problem solving skills and resilience.

7. War and Peace or Comic Books?

This video is the perfect reminder that reading and learning should be enjoyable!

8. Writing and Spelling: Practical Ideas for Parents

Reading Rockets is a fabulous resource for parents, so if you have some time, do check out what it has to offer. Writing and Spelling: Practical Ideas for Parents gives ideas for activities and strategies you can use to help your child with spelling.

9. VELS Level 1 – Prep Year at School

The Victorian Essential Learning Standards is the Prep to Year 10 Curriculum for Victorian schools. Other states would have something similar. It is helpful as a parent to be aware of what the learning focus is for your child through out the year.

VELS Level 1 – Prep are Literacy, numeracy, interpersonal development, physical wellbeing and the arts. The table below shows where standards are set for assessment and reporting in the Prep year. Standards are set in these areas only because these are the highest priority for learning at this level. Schools devote more time to these areas since they have been set as a priority at Prep.

vels 540.jpg

10. State Education Department Resources

The Education Departments of each state have dedicated sections for parents on their websites. Some are better than others, but I have listed the most useful aspects of each around the country:

  • Victoria – Parent Update – a newsletter you can subscribe to which keeps you up to date with education issues in your state.
  • NSW – School A to Z app – a very handy free app, that is useful for all parents even if you aren’t in NSW.
  • QLD – schools + parents – subscribe to receive information about initiatives and issues that impact schools and students across all education sectors in QLD.
  • SA – Parents & Community – general info for parents.
  • TAS – Every Day Matters! – A free booklet you can download and is written for parents of young children starting school. It includes tips to help your child settle into school life, as well as information about what a “typical day” might be for your child in Kindergarten, Prep and Grade 1.
  • WA – Parent Newsletter – a newsletter you can subscribe to which keeps you up to date with education issues in your state.
  • NT – Stages of Schooling – a dwonloadable document overviewing the Learning Environment and the Learner Characteristics for each stage at school.
  • ACT – Parents and School Community – general info for parents.

11. Educational Apps>

10 Educational iPhone apps for kids 3 - 12 500.png
In this post of mine, 10 Educational iPhone Apps For Kids, I share some of the apps we have found useful to support our kids learning in the home environment. The apps included are for kids from 3 – 12 years old.

If you have any resources that you use or have written about on your blog, feel free to leave a link in the comments!


  1. Bree says

    Kathy Walker’s resources have helped us make our school readiness decisions! She and her colleges are Devine. I think parents need to start thinking about school readiness when they start thinking about kindergarten including three year old kinder.

  2. says

    The school readiness issue is pretty important to us as Brian is born on 27th June (in QLD). Thankfully he’s well ahead in the language and numeracy department. At the hairdresser the other day he read the price list himself and said “Is it $22?” Apparently I had been teaching number recognition without even realising it myself!

  3. Nicola says

    Nic, this is one of your best posts! So many relevant links for me to read – I have one in Prep this year, one starting 3yo kinder and my 2yo at home with me. Love love love this post, very inspirational. Thankyou! Have also fallen in love with your Mexibake…just thought I’d share that with you : )

  4. says

    Hi Nic,
    As you can guess, I found this post a winner! Such great ideas and much information for parents.
    I am endeavouring to make “sense” of these various state education differences and in my recent post I only covered the different names the states call the first year of primary school! Then of course, is the age-start & cut-off dates. Handwriting is another difference in each state. No wonder parents who need to move children interstate find differences a challenge. I would love to say, the Australian states are about to unite in education…. But I know that’s not going to happen any time soon.
    Your work here, is such a good guide for parents perhaps you could get those State Ed ministers in & not let them leave till they had an agreement!! Now THAT would be achievement! Denyse

  5. says

    Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for linking to the Blanks questions post and The Useful Box. There are some great resources on this list. Thanks for putting them together.
    I have a year to make the school-starting decision for my Miss 3.5. She has a May birthday, and I always thought I’d hold her back, but with many of her friends starting school in 2013, I’m starting to re-think my decision…
    Sometimes even when you work in an educational field, the decision is not always clear-cut!