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Preparatory Year

About Prep

Catholic schools are committed to providing a special place for your child in Prep. Our schools offer:

  • An exciting, fun, inquiry and play-based curriculum,
  • Specialised facilities and equipment,
  • Qualified, dedicated teachers and committed support staff,
  • Faith and values development integrated into the curriculum
  • Close partnerships with parents, families and community
  • Commitment to the growth and development of the whole child – spiritually, intellectually, physically, culturally, socially and emotionally
  • A safe environment and caring community fostering the unique beauty of each child
  • Integration within the wider school community enabling a smooth transition to year 1 and beyond.


Can my child go to Prep?

To be eligible to enrol in Prep your child must turn 5 by 30 June in the year of attendance in Prep.


Eligible for prep year in:

Eligible for Year 1 in:

Child born 1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009



Child born 1 July 2009 – 30 June 2010



Child born 1 July 2010 – 30 June 2011



Child born 1 July 2011 – 30 June 2012



Child born 1 July 2012 – 20 June 2013



Child born 1 July 2013 – 20 June 2014




* Are there any exception to the age limits?

Section 15 of the Education General Provisions Regulation 2006 allows early entry to the Prep Year for a child who:


  • Will be at least 5 years and 5 months on 31 December in the proposed year of attendance (i.e. a child who turns 5 on or before 31 July); AND
  • Is considered ‘ready for education in the year of schooling considering the child’s attributes’;


  • Had started education in another state or country that is equivalent to the Prep Year; AND
  • Is considered ‘ready for education in the year of schooling considering the child’s attributes’.

The Regulations define ‘child’s attributes’ as

  • Aptitude and ability; and
  • Social and emotional competence, and
  • Physical development; and
  • Level of knowledge and understanding.

Parents wishing to apply for early entry into the Prep Year on this basis should make application to the Principal in the usual manner.  Parents also need to provide additional documentation to assist the Principal in making a decision as to whether the child meets the requirements of early entry to Prep.

How will my child benefit from Prep?

National and international research highlights the importance of quality fulltime early education and smooth transitions to formal schooling to aid children’s long term educational outcomes.

Research tells us that children learn best when they actively construct knowledge of their world around them. Therefore your child will be actively involved in an inquiry- based learning program where teachers and children work together to explore, observe, ask questions, discuss observations and seek answers about everyday experiences. On a daily basis your child will be developing their physical skills through activities such as climbing an obstacle course. They will also building the literacy skills through a variety of language activities including language games.

An old adage states: “tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand” – this is the essence of inquiry learning where your child actively constructs

knowledge in a meaningful way. Prep programs that are child-centred and play based will improve your child’s social and problem-solving skills and encourage them to have a greater interest in learning.

Is Prep compulsory?

The preparatory year is not compulsory. It is not a requirement to attend preparatory year before commencing Year 1.

However, it is anticipated that the majority of children will enrol in a preparatory year. It is expected that children in the preparatory year will attend full time to obtain maximum benefit from the program.

It is best to consult with the school if you wish to vary your child’s attendance.

The Brisbane Catholic Education website includes a school directory of all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese.

What activities will my child be doing in a prep program?

Your child will be participating in a learning program based on Queensland Studies Authority’s The Early Years Curriculum which is based on active learning, and includes inquiry and play. Some of the activities your child will be participating in :

  • actively making choices about what and how they learn
  • investigating and learning how to inquire about their interests
  • planning collaboratively with the teacher
  • participating in music and language experiences
  • investigating and playing independently, in pairs, small groups and as a class
  • participating in dramatic play to build an understanding of themselves and the world around them
  • drawing and painting to encourage oral language, reading and writing skills
  • constructing, using blocks and creating collages to develop early mathematical concepts and skills.

How will my child learn?

The prep teacher will select topics of interest to your child so that they can build on what they already know and do. Answers are discovered by exploring resources such as books, and the Internet and by talking to special guest visitors e.g. ambulance, scientist, council representative, nurse, etc. Your child will be encouraged to think about what they have learnt and how they can best communicate their findings and understandings.

What will it mean for me?

It is important that parents understand that a play-based learning program is an important step in your child’s educational journey. When your child plays, they make decisions, solve problems, develop thinking skills, collaborate, communicate and develop a positive sense of self. In Prep, your child will participate in exploratory, directed, fantasy, educational and free play, as well as physical play and games with rules.

They will play both indoors and outdoors in different ways at different times of the school day. When your child plays, they will develop social and personal learning, language and communication, early mathematical understanding, health and physical ability and active thinking processes.

These factors have also been identified in research as the indicators for success in school learning and as the foundations for success in later learning.

What might going to school look like for my prep child?

The prep focus is on continuity and the promotion of success for learning as a life long learner. This focus helps to ensure smooth transitions in all facets of school life. Brisbane Catholic Education is working closely with school communities to plan and develop Early Years philosophy and practices to ensure that prep children are immersed in a program that is developmentally appropriate and links into the other early years of school – year one, two etc.

Prep children will attend the same hours of the school as the years one to sevens and their prep classrooms will be located nearby the year one, two or three class groups. Prep children will eat lunch with other children in the early years area of a school and will play in the playground supervised by the teacher on duty.

What will the prep classroom be like for my child?

Most prep classrooms will be open spaces set out with different learning areas planned active learning. Some parts of the room will have tables and chairs, with other parts consisting of an open space for group and individual activities. There will be a carpeted area for story telling and singing, and an area for painting and construction. The prep classroom will also have access to an outdoor learning space. Even though some classrooms will not have dedicated toilets for the prep children, arrangements will be made for ease of access that are appropriate for the particular school site.

How will they be cared for?

It is planned that prep classes will be taught by qualified and experienced early childhood teachers. With their professional knowledge and expertise, these teachers are ideally placed to implement the new preparatory year curriculum. Some parents may be concerned about rest time. Each prep teacher will consider the needs of their class and make educational decisions about rest time and quiet activities for children in the afternoon. Teachers will respond to the needs of their children when it comes to providing rest time and appropriate quiet time activities.

What will my child learn about Religious Education?

The Religious Education Guidelines for the Early Years support teaching and learning of religious education in the Preparatory Year and align with the aim of Religious Education in the Brisbane Archdiocese.

“All young Catholics, throughout their school years, are provided with opportunities for religious education suited to their age, background and the changing world in which they live.”

(Policy Statement Religious Education of school-Aged Catholics- Archdiocese of Brisbane Catholic Education Council August 2005)

How can I be involved in my child’s learning?

Building partnerships is a key part of the new early years curriculum. Making partnerships with families and carers is a key element to a positive learning environment for young children. Prep teachers will be building on these partnerships and involving families in a variety of ways in the prep classroom.

If my child has a disability, can they still attend prep?

If your child has a disability and is of eligible age, they will be included in Prep classes wherever possible. Sometimes if the child has high support needs and cannot be supported in the prep class then they will eligible for early special education programs such as Special Education Developmental Units and Centres. Please talk to the school principal for further information and support for your child.

Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101