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Back to School Guide

Welcome to the Alphabet Street Back to School Guide. It only seems like yesterday we were saying goodbye to the 2013 school year and six weeks on we are buying school shoes and packing bags with school supplies for the start of a new school year. For our family it is a bittersweet experience with all children now at the same school. Our youngest is starting kindergarten which means mum is now free to focus her daily thoughts on her growing business but sad that it also signifies an end of an era. The realisation kids are growing up way too fast. Many of you would be sharing similar situations sending “first borns” or “last borns” off to school or daycare. In this back to school guide we have put together an A-Z of the 2014 school year which will ensure that certain event or situations are covered if you come across them. We hope your first week at school is not too emotional and that many of you get a break that you may not have had for the six week hiatus.

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JACKIE FROM MY LITTLE BOOKCASE SHARES HER TOP 4 BACK TO SCHOOL BOOKS FOR LITTLE READERS Starting School Starting School combines watercolour illustrations with intricate collage to create a beautiful and delightful book to share with children. Five diverse children approach their first day of school differently, each with unique thoughts, worries and experiences. It is reassuring to read and gives children a realistic picture of what to expect of school, with each page representing a different aspect of school, from ‘Getting Ready’ to ‘Doing Work’

Author: Jane Godwin Illustrator: Anna Walker Publisher: Penguin Books, August 2013 RRP: $24.99

First Day With fun illustrations drawn upon lined paper and contemporary references to BFFs and a first day selfie, this book is perfect for children of Gen Z. But First Day is also an ideal book for parents to read as they help to prepare their child for their first day of school. The story sees a conversation take place between a mother and her daughter as they get ready on the first day of school. What seems like comforting affirmations from a parent to a child are actually reassurances from the child to her mother.

Author: Andrew Daddo Illustrator: Jonathan Bentley Publisher: Harper Collins, December 2013 RRP: $24.99 Wombat Goes to School Mothball is back in her funniest book yet. Bound to provoke many laughs, this is a brilliantly light-hearted book to read with your children as they prepare for a new year of school. After discovering a tunnel that leads to a classroom, Mothball finds herself in all sorts of school yard mischief as she hunts down grass and carrots in every nook of the school.

Author: Jackie French Illustrator: Bruce Whately Publisher: Harper Collins, October 2013 RRP: $24.99


The Terrible Suitcase The Terrible Suitcase is a wonderful celebration of childhood and the unexpected things that can happen on the first day of school. The first day of school doesn’t seem fair for one little girl who has to take a terrible suitcase when all the other children have weird and wonderful backpacks. But, that terrible suitcase sparks a wild imagination that draws the attention of the other children, and marks the start of some wonderful, new friendships.

Author: Emma Allen Illustrator: Freya Blackwood Publisher: Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia, July 2012 RRP: $15.99 Compiled by Jackie Small: Jackie is an experienced primary and secondary classroom teacher. Currently on family leave, she spends each day in the company of her two enthusiastic children. Jackie also manages My Little Bookcase, an online resource that aims to model and provide parents and educators with fun and positive ways to engage their children in literacybuilding activities.




Eliminate the morning madness with Paul Mitchell Taming Spray. Easily detangles dry or damp hair and leaves hair fresh and full of body.


The Allerbling wristband is a unique medical ID bracelet, which is designed to be customised using inter-changeable charms, based on your child's changing food allergies. The bracelet pack, which is suitable for children aged 3-5, comes complete with:* 1 small (140mm) and 1 medium (156mm) band, * 8 food allergy charms (Peanut, Tree Nut, Egg, Dairy, Wheat,Fish, Shellfish and Soy),PLUS 1 medical cross charm. Available from

Asthma Peeps personalised stickers for asthma spacers and inhalers, provide an attractive visual aid that encourages children to be more responsive to medication management and inhaler techniques. Choose from a selection of stickers for your spacer or inhaler.


Prevent infestation of head lice with Daily Control Head Lice Spray. 100% natural active ingredient artemisia annua which is pleasant smelling and assists with detangling.,au


With Summer brings insects and for many children insects bring allergies. Alleviate insect bites with this band that has a natural Citronella essence that has been refined to effectively keep mosquitoes and insects away for up to 48 hours 6.

MR MESSY ANTIBACTERIAL HAND SANITISER SPRAY With children being exposed to many school bugs across their school life, it’s important to educate them about correct hand washing. Pop this hand sanitiser spray in their bags to use before recess and lunch.


Play School cold packs have been especially created for the little bumps and bruises life throws at our kids. They live in the fridge and are always ready for action to soothe bumps, bruises, scrapes, insect bites and minor burns.


Being a School Mum can be very overwhelming at times particularly if you are going on this journey for the first time. I went in blind without too much information from anybody as my daughter was the oldest in my whole family to go to school so I had no sibling or friends really to talk to as we were first. I have compiled below my top 5 tips (yes there are lots more but no one can do everything) to help make things that little bit easier.

attention or make them question picking up a hat and assuming it was theirs. I would recommend some kind of easily identifiable tag on the inside of every piece of school clothing that any child would know was theirs or not. Perhaps something that you can iron on with a specific design , (with your child's name on it) that they will recognise straight away and is really obvious. You want to make it super easy for kids to know if it is theirs or not.

1. LABEL EVERYTHING After my daughter's school Hat went missing in the first week of school I suddenly understood the importance of labelling everything. We had written her name in the school hat on the tag where it said name in permanent marker however I came to realise quickly that this would not be enough. In prep/kindergarten most kids can't read yet so some black pen on a tag was not enough to hold their

You can check out some name label options HERE.

2. LUNCH BOX FOOD PLAN I think it took about 6 months before my daughter came home having eaten everything in her lunchbox for the day. It was not that we were giving her too much food, if anything I felt like she did not have enough. It was more that she was being fussy or the food was taking too long for her to eat and she was more interested in play than eating at lunchtime. This was one of the most stressful things for me knowing my daughter was at school all day and knowing how little she has eaten.

I would recommend starting to put together school lunch ideas during the holidays for your kids in their lunchboxes and having them eat those to get use to it. Going from walking around the house, grazing most days and having free reign of the fridge lunch food to a structured lunch was tricky for my daughter. I am 8.

amazed at how little she can eat when at school. She does come home like a hungry animal after any food she can get. We do try and make her eat her lunch first but some of it is past it by the time she is home. 3. DOCUMENT TRAY I knew we would receive pieces of paper home from school about all different things but nothing prepared me for how much there was really going to be. Sometimes the notes are for something a month in advance and you are flat out finding the ones due this week so you put them aside to hunt down the most recent ones. Having a good clear system for where you put school notes is a must. You will save yourself hours of searching and frustration by having a plan. We have a specific document tray and space in a wall box where all the notes go that come home. There is a mountain of them in there and I have no idea of the order they are in but what I do know is that if I am after a note or some information that was sent home I know where to find it. This really is a must.

4. BOOK COVERS If you haven’t heard of book covers I would advise you to GOOGLE it. I spent the first year of my daughter's prep covering all of her books with contact which was fun to begin with. After about the 15th book I think I was ready to scream. Book covers are reusable and a cheats way of covering your kids books in about 5 minutes total. Yes they do cost a bit more than contact however for me it was worth it for the time I saved and the reusable nature of them for the year after. They are also super cute. You can check some out HERE.

well for us. My general rule is about 1 week before school starts back we are back to normal bed time and wake up time so the kids are back into school routine before school starts back. It is a bit of a shock to the system for everyone getting back into the swing of things so making it as easy as possible and staging out the new normal after holidays can help a lot. These are my top 5 tips for making things that little bit easier getting back into the school swing of things. I am founder of School Mum and you can check out more school tips at or follow us on facebook at umma

Spencil Book Covers

5. A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP This does seem like a no brainer but making sure your children have had a series of good night sleeps leading up to starting school is a must. I know on holidays our kids tend to go to bed a bit later and get up a bit later which works


Everyone Deserves the Right to Read THE SMITH FAMILY ASSISTS DISADVANTAGED FAMILIES WITH THEIR STUDENT2STUDENT READING PROGRAM The Smith family are well renowned for assisting disadvantaged families at Christmas but they are also known for helping children to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves. The reading gap in primary school between the lowest socio-economic students (SES) and the highest SES is equivalent to almost 3 yrs of schooling. Children from low socio-economic backgrounds in Australia are not achieving minimum standards in reading, writing, spelling

and grammar as evidenced in the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). With this mind, these achievement gaps can be narrowed during the primary school years by providing additional support. This is where the Smith Family’s Student2Sudent program assists. This program works by matching students who need to improve their reading with peer buddies who help and encourage them with their reading. Peer support is central to the program’s success.

Evidence indicates that one of the best ways to support students who have reading difficulties is for the help to come from others near their own age. Each student and buddy receives an identical book pack from The Smith Family. The reading buddy then telephones the student two to three times a week for at least 20 minutes, over an18 week period. You can help disadvantaged Australian children get the most out of their education and create a better future for themselves. Volunteer now or call for more info.


SoYoung grade school backpack pink fawn RRP $49.95

Tree friendly recyced pencils RRP $7.95

Eco bag tag - kombi Bag – Tiles RRP $2.00

Klean Kanteen Dew Drop 355ml Sports Bottle RRP $20.95

EcoFriendly Keep Leef Insulated Lunch Bag – Tiles RRP $29.95

Vintage World Lunch Bag RRP $12.95

Coloured Smencils Bag Set of 10 RRP $15.00

*NEW* Wrap It Green Reusable Food Wraps RRP $25.91

Notebook - Woodland Birds RRP $14.95 12.

Aqua Flamingo Lunch Bag RRP $32.95

Rambling Rose Lunch Box RRP $9.95

Dabbawalla Insulated Lunch Bag - Stars & Stripes RRP $39.95

Boon Trunk Lunch & Snack Box RRP $22.95

Lunch Bags & Boxes

Strawberry Lunch Bag RRP $34.95

Lunch Bag - Robots RRP $11.95

Big Apple Buddies Lunch Bag - Cat RRP $29.95

Fridge to go RRP $29.95 13.

Cleo Back Pack-Midnight Rose Deep Blue RRP $60.00

Red American Indian Toddler Backpack RRP $44.95

Personalised Medium Backpack RRP $49.95

Back packs Lassig Mini Backpack ~ Wildlife Rhino RRP $39.95

Stars Back Pack RRP $59.95 Bobble Art- paper doll back pack RRP $39.95

Rusty the Fox Backpack RRP $29.95

B2s Backpack RRP $39.95


Cocoon Couture Library Bags RRP $14.95

Creepy Critter Library Bag RRP $13.95 Confetti Boys Library Bag RRP $29.95

Library Bags Angelina Ballerina Library Bag RRP $9.99

apple & bee kids library bag RRP $29.95

Robot Library bags RRP $34.95

Orangutan Library Bag RRP $4.95

Library Bag Pink RRP $10.50


Kids Fast Quench RRP $24

Cheeki 350ml kids water bottles - butterfly RRP $13.95

Hoppy the Frog RRP $9.95

Drink Bottles Camelbak Eddy Kids Bottle RRP $21.49

Bobble Art Large Drink Bottle Butterfly RRP $24.95

Crocodile Creek Drink Bottle Drink Bottle BPA Free Kids Red Rocket Striker RRP $19.98

Striped Drink Bottle - Blue RRP $19.95

Contigo Kids Autospout Striker bottle RRP $14.95 17.

A4 Book Cover - Girls Rule RRP $2.50

100's & 1000's Satchel Pencil Case RRP $12.95 Snifty Scented Pens RRP $3.99

Stationery Treats Eraser Pencil RRP $1.95

Bubble Pencil Case - Green RRP $9.95

Book Labels RRP $19.95

Treats Candy Scissors RRP $2.95 18.




Of the school year. A comprehensive guide of what to expect during the school year for your child





With digital technology on the rise, it is important to ensure that both parents and children are well informed with information they can access easily. Apps seem to be the way of the world with children learning this technology from a very young age. Educational apps are available from itunes for all student levels. Parents are also kept in the loop with a new app SKOOLBAG that allows schools to tell parents and carers everything they need to know about school news, newsletters, events calendar, cancellations, school notices, school information, and much more. This replaces the hard copy newsletter but is a subscription based service that requires the school to sign up at the required cost.

Book Week

Each year, many schools and public libraries from all over Australia spend a week celebrating books and Australian authors and illustrators. Classroom teachers, teacher librarians and public librarians develop activities, offer competitions and tell stories relating to a theme to highlight the importance of reading. This year’s book week will run from Saturday 16 – Friday 22 August 2014.

Children’s Week

Children's Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia during the fourth week in October. A diverse range of events and activities are organised at National, State and Local levels. These focus the attention of the wider community on children, their needs and achievements. Children's Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. It is also a time for children to demonstrate their talents, skills and abilities. Children’s Week will run from the 18th-26th October. 22.


Drop Off

Check with your local school what time you can drop off your kids where there is adequate teacher supervision. Prior to a certain time there may not be any teachers on duty to supervise your child.


Education Week

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Education Week provides schools with the opportunity to include parents and the local community in celebrations of public education. This year schools will celebrate Education Week from the 18th-24th May 2014 with this year’s themeScience.

As soon as you return to school, many schools start their fundraising drive. Check out websites that sell particular products as they often have a fundraising section. E.g Name labels, sunscreen, stationary, children’s artwork etc Check out to see the full range of products and services available

Gifted and Talented

Many schools across the country recognise that children have different abilities in different areas. In every class there are students who will require the curriculum to be modified to ensure the provision of appropriate challenge for their learning. Gifted and talented students will have this potential throughout their lives. Check with your school to see if they have an advanced learning program if you feel your child might fall into this category.



Head lice

Statistically you would be very lucky if you got through your child’s school life without having a case of head lice . School procedures have changed from the past where you could be excluded from school until all head lice and eggs were removed from the child’s head. According to the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009, children with head lice can be readmitted to school or children’s service centres after treatment has commenced. Although there are many treatments on the market to remove the lifecycle of the lice, make sure you read the fine print ensuring the product also kills the eggs or you will be infested again after the eggs hatch. Seek products that can be used daily as a defence spray.

Harmony Day


Harmony Day 21 March is a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home – from the traditional owners of this land to those who have come from many countries around the world. By participating in Harmony Day activities, we can learn and understand how all Australians from diverse backgrounds equally belong to this nation and enrich it. Education is a key focus for Harmony Day. It is in the schoolyard and classroom, child-care centre and kindergarten that children have, and will learn important lessons of respect and understanding of cultural diversity.


From 1 January 2014, changes to the Public Health Act 2010 mean preschools will not be able to enrol a child unless the parent/caregiver has provided documentation that shows that the child: •is fully vaccinated for their age, or •has a medical reason not to be vaccinated, or •has a parent/caregiver who has a conscientious objection to vaccination, or •is on a recognised catch-up schedule if their child has fallen 25. behind with their vaccinations.

A child without an Immunisation History Statement will not be prevented from enrolling in primary school. Under the NSW Public Health Act 2010, however, children without proof of immunisation may be asked by Public Health Officials to stay at home during an outbreak of vaccine preventable disease.

Jump Rope for Heart

Each year Heart Foundation Jump Rope attracts over 400,000 school students, in over 2,000 schools around the country we've given Australian schools enough rope to stretch from Australia to Hawaii! Heart Foundation Jump Rope for Heart is about teaching school children how to keep fit and healthy. Conducted by school teachers, children learn physical activities like ropejumping to improve their strength, gaining confidence and stamina to extend their physical abilities elsewhere.


Kidsafe Day

National Kidsafe Day aims to increase awareness of unintentional childhood injuries and their prevention, as well as the valuable work of Kidsafe - the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia, in public education, advocacy and research into the causes and prevention of unintentional childhood injury. National Kidsafe Day is held during Children's Week, which provides a great opportunity for considering the safety of children in our adult focused world during a week that celebrates our children. 25 th October 2014


For those transitioning to big school from daycare or pre-school this year will find that food regulations aren’t as strict finding it hard to monitor what children are eating. The Healthy Kids website gives parents ideas on what to pack kids for school plus food nutritional information and lots more that revolves around good food for kids.



Meal Plans

As more mums head back to work and kids start their after school activities, a weekly meal plan might be just the thing to keep the cogs moving in the right direction. This not only keeps the household duties running smoothly but can also save on household costs having a week of ingredients you will need for the weeks meals. Download your free meal plans off the web or go to stationery shops like Kikki K for a printed meal planner.


The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It has been an everyday part of the school calendar since 2008 . NAPLAN tests the sorts of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life, such as reading, writing, spelling and numeracy. The assessments are undertaken nationwide, every year, in the second full week in May. NAPLAN testing begins on Tuesday 13 th May 2014


OOSH care is usually associated with schools and caters to primary school children. Most OOSH services are operated by community and private organisations. The government's program is known as Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) or Vacation Care (VC). Hours are usually 6.30am-9am and 3pm6pm. Out Of School Hours care emphasises play, social interaction and recreation. Activities are organised in small and large groups, or children may choose quiet time by themselves (eg to read and do homework).

Premier’s Reading Challenge

The Premier's Reading Challenge is a literacy initiative developed by Australian state governments. It is set not as a competitive event, but rather as an individual challenge to each student, as well as to promote a love of reading books. Children have a scheduled number of books to read off the booklist between the timeframe of the 1st March to 1st September. At the end of the Challenge students who have completed it receive a certificate from the Premier. 28.



Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher questions about how your child is doing in class. Many teachers have email addresses these days which they will give to parents if they feel it is appropriate. Don’t wait until half yearly parent teacher interviews if you feel you need answers about your child’s performance or behaviour in class.


Ride2School Day


Schools Tree Day



Wednesday 19th March 2014 marks the eighth National Ride2School Day, where over 250,000 Australian students, just like yours, will ride, walk, scoot or skate to school, many for the first time. National Ride2School Day is about celebrating active travel within the school day and encouraging those who haven't started to give it a go.

Each year, around 2500 preschools, kindies, primary and high schools across Australia take part in Schools Tree Day. Students nation-wide have learnt how to plant, and care for the seedlings they grow. Schools Tree Day 2014 is on Friday 25th July, although events can be held at any time during the year.

If you feel your child needs assistance with school work and you may not have the skills, patience or time, there are many professional services who can assist with some extra help. Choose from tutors who come to your home (may need to provide a working with children check) or services where you go to their venue. There are also some online programs that can assist with particular subjects like Maths Online



If your children haven’t had a check up at the dentist yet, now is the time to book in for a dental check. The ADA recommends that your child’s first oral health visit take place at 12 months of age, or shortly after the eruption of the first baby teeth. It’s important to start dental visits early and attend these regularly as directed by your dentist, rather than waiting for a painful and often costly problem to occur. Children who have regular check-ups and are comfortable with visiting the dentist tend to have fewer dental problems, and are less likely to be afraid of dental treatments.


Universal Children’s Day

The United Nations' (UN) Universal Children's Day, which was established in 1954, is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards improving children's welfare.


Starting school can be a costly exercise, especially if you are buying the uniform directly from the school. To reduce your costs check out the second hand uniform shop which usually is priced at the fraction of the cost of the original prices.


Vacation Care

With many parents returning to the workforce after all kids have entered school, you might need some help with childcare over the school holiday period. There are many places that run Vacation care programs that will be able to assist you with extended hours care. details vacation care opportunities across Australia depending on your requirements.



World Teachers Day

The United Nations' (UN) World Teachers' Day celebrates the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels. This enables children and adults of all ages to learn to take part in and contribute to their local community and global society. World Teachers Day falls on Sunday 5th October.


Xtra-curricular Activities


Yearly Calendar


Many children have outside interests and activities they participate in each week. Whether it’s a sport , music tuition or group activity such as Scouts, moderation is the key. Although it is essential for kids to be involved in activities outside of school, be mindful of the homework expectations of the school and make sure you are aware of what your child has completed. Too many outside interests may conflict with projects/homework the school provides for the students to complete.

Buy your 12 month calendar and start marking as many school events on them as soon as you hear from the school. Ask the teachers when half yearly and yearly assessments are performed so you can plan for early nights or assistance with tutoring etc. This works well when you have more than one child at school as different years have different commitments such as excursions etc.

zzzzzzzzzzz.....good night sleep

With the six week hiatus off school, routines may have lapsed over the holiday period. Children 6-9 years need 10-11 hours of sleep a night. Holidays change the bedtime but it’s essential that once they are back at school they get the required amount of sleep to function in class each day. Get them back into their bedtime routine as quickly as possible for a smooth transition.