The first day of school can be nerve-wracking for even the most confident of kids, but the new principal at a local Catholic primary school says it doesn’t have to be that way.
“Parents often don’t know what they need to do to make their children ready for school,” said John Barton, who takes over as Principal at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School in Terrigal in Term 1.
“Children don’t need to know everything before they start, but if they have some basic skills they can use them as building blocks to become great learners.”
Mr Barton said parents could help by teaching simple things to their children, such as how to grip a pencil, as well as knowledge of numbers and shapes.
“Being able to count and do those basic things in the early years will enable children to fly at big school,” he said.
As Principal at Mary Immaculate at Bossley Park in Sydney, Mr Barton’s early learning program taught parents how to help their children master the fundamentals of learning to read.
“We upskilled parents to take on the skills in a way a teacher would when they teach the children to read,” he said. The results of the program saw an immediate growth in the reading levels of these children when they finished their first year of school.
A teacher and principal in Catholic schools for thirty-seven years, Mr Barton brings his passion for early childhood education to Star of the Sea, which has an on-site pre-school.
Mr Barton said he was very excited about joining the school. “It’s a beautiful school set in a lovely location with so much potential for growth,” he said.
“I want to build an even stronger community with greater involvement of parents in the educational life of their children.”