Five-year-old Alira is excited to start kindergarten at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School this year.
She, along with thousands of kids, are preparing to begin the journey into “big school,” where lots of friends, learning and adventures await.
“She’s definitely ready, so I’m just excited to see how she thrives and flourishes,” said Mum Carrie Noone.
Alira is the second of Carrie’s children entering the Catholic education system after older sister Essie.
Her presence will definitely be missed at home.
“I will be missing her, and there’s two younger siblings who will miss her too because she loves playing and keeping them entertained,” she said.
Carrie’s faith has been an element of her family for generations—her parents both had religious vocations at one point and became primary school teachers working at Catholic schools.
The decision to send her children into Catholic education was an easy one.
“It’s important we send them somewhere that upholds what the church teaches, knowing it will support what we’re teaching our children at home,” said Carrie.
St Patrick’s have helped along the way, working with parents to ensure they have everything they need, even organising for the first time this year a series of playdates for the kids ahead of their first day.
“It meant they could get comfortable with each other whilst us parents also had opportunities to get to know other families.”
“Now we have a WhatsApp group and will ask each other anything, like about lunchboxes—there’s a thousand choices these days!”
In terms of getting Alira ready, it’s about having those important conversations to help her feel comfortable.
“We talk about what school will look like, what they’re going to be doing when they get there, and just setting up some expectations for the first day so it’s not too overwhelming.”
“You want to make sure they’re going to be in a place where they feel safe, and they feel they can make friends.”
Family Educator out at Galilee Catholic Primary School in Bondi Lucy Hayward says a “a loving community and local support” are what parents can expect as schools look to
“connect families with the faith life of the school and the parish.
“An old saying is that parents must give their children two things—roots and wings,” she said in her Kindergarten orientation day speech.
“Roots give children a sense of who they are and will keep them grounded in times of uncertainty.
“Wings are their means of leaving security and discovering new horizons—with them, they will soar like eagles above all and find new strength.”
As Carrie prepares to let Alira’s wings fly, she has some advice for parents sending their children off for the first time.
“Give them some room to debrief on their day, expect there to be a few different emotions in those first weeks, and ask them lots of questions,” she said.
“You might spend time wondering how they’re going to go, but don’t be too fearful or worried.
“They will settle a lot quicker than you expect.”