Mountaineers - Scaling the Heights of Learning

Mountaineers are our pre-school visitors. The goal of our Mountaineer's Sessions is to make the transition to school an exciting and positive experience.


Mountaineers visit school for Discovery (a learning through play experience) on Thursdays from 8.55-10.30, you can have up to 10 Mountaineers visits. For the first few sessions we encourage parents and caregivers to stay for the duration of the visit. During Discovery you will have the opportunity to talk with the teachers about your child and the Mountaineers Sessions. As your child gains confidence and settles into school routines and the classroom environment you are welcome to leave them at school to collect at the end of Discovery at 10.30. You can stay with your child for morning tea from 10.30-10.45. Staying for morning tea enables your child to have the opportunity to open and close their bag, practice selecting food out of their lunchbox to eat at morning tea, to sit with their friends to eat, and they get a chance to play in the playground with other Mountaineers and school children.


The last three visits are extended visits – two visits until 1.00pm and the last visit before your child turns 5 is until 2.00pm. The goal of these extended visits is for children to experience time in their future classroom with their future teacher and join in with teacher directed activities. Silent reading, reading groups, teacher directed reading activities, whole class and small group mathematics sessions, and cooperative class games are some of the learning experiences held after Discovery.


Your child will also learn about simple classroom routines, including how to move around the classroom, what the bells mean, and what to do when they ring. Your child will also get to establish closer relationships with their teacher and future classmates.


Lunch is from 12 – 12.30 (with supervised eating time from 12-12.15). The opportunity to eat lunch at school allows children to practice lunchtime routines; getting their lunchbox out of their bag, selecting which food to eat, finding and wearing a hat, sitting to eat until the play-bell rings, and raising their hand to get their lunch box checked by the teacher on duty.


Several chances to experience these important school routines as a Mountaineer will give your child an opportunity to familiarise themselves with school behaviour - making the transition to school easier. When you arrive to collect your child you will have a chance to briefly observe them at school and discuss any concerns or questions with their teacher.


Once you have enrolled your child in Totara Park School we will contact you about starting as a Mountaineer.


What should my child know before they start school?

Some of the most important skills that children need to master before they start school involve self-management.

  • Opening and closing drink bottles and lunch boxes.

  • Knowing what to eat and when, knowing what is for morning tea and what is for lunch.

  • Toileting - they do this alone, they need to know how to wipe themselves and pull up and down their own clothes, as well as how to flush the toilet, and wash and dry their hands independently.

  • Being able to use all of their clothing, including opening and closing zips, and using buttons. Being able to dress themselves or undress, children will need to do this independently for swimming.

  • Being able to open packets or knowing how to use scissors to open them.

  • Putting on and taking off shoes and socks and being able to do them up by themselves (this may include tying laces).

  • Coughing into their elbow and blowing their nose with a tissue is another important self-management skill.


Can your child:

  • Recognise and write their name with a capital letter at the beginning and the rest of their name in lowercase. If they can write their surname as well that's great!

  • Say the alphabet, recognise lots of letters, and make the sounds that letters make. For example a-ant, b-ball, c-cat.

  • Count forwards and backwards to 10 or to 20. Don't forget about zero. And recognise lots of these numbers.

  • Make a group of toys or objects and count them.

  • Hold a pencil correctly and use it to make marks on paper, write, colour-in, or draw.

  • Follow a sequence of 2 or 3 instructions.

  • Take turns when playing a game and sharing happily.


Look at this blog to find out further ideas about what we do at Totara Park School -


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