Catholic kindergarten and primary schools unite to build strong partnerships for their littlest students

Student from Christ the King School Graceville reads to Catholic Early EdCare students from Julia Community Child Care Centre Graceville. 

School prep starts before Prep – and it is the key to partnerships being developed between Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) primary schools and their Catholic Early EdCare counterparts.   

As agencies of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the two organisations connect to ensure young learners as little as four are engaging with their future primary schools. 

Positive student outcomes are one of the strongest outcomes of the partnership connection between kindergarten and Early Years educators, according to BCE Principals.  

Christ the King School Graceville Principal Damien Sullivan runs a buddy program partnering Year 5 students with local kindy students from Catholic Early EdCare kindergarten Julia Cumming Community Child Care Centre Graceville and says it encourages bonds between the school leaders and future Prep students.  

 “It’s important our incoming Prep students feel comfortable in our school environment, and we achieve this by engaging with them before starting school,” he said, listing playtime, library visits, gardening, and other special projects throughout the year among the initiatives. 

“If the children feel safe and happy, this increases their confidence and helps with a smooth transition, which means on their first day they can let go of all worries and are ready to be learners.  

“It’s a great way our future students can get to know our campus, connect, and make friends with our current students, which we find makes their transition to Prep a lot less daunting.”  

Early engagement in formal education is part of the groundwork for future student success, said Star of the Sea School Merrimac Principal Tony Barron.  

We are very proud of the partnership we have with our local Catholic Early EdCare kindergarten, Star of the Sea Kindergarten,” he said.  

“From Term 2 we welcome future students onto campus on a weekly basis to participate in library, music, and playground activities giving them a chance to get to know their surroundings and recognise familiar faces.”  

The Principal also runs a four-week Pre-Prep program called ‘Little Stars,’ helping future students establish relationships and engage with their future school communities before official orientation begins in November.  

“We find this proactive approach helps them settle in, be more confident, and familiar with their new surroundings, peers, and staff members,” he said.  

“Because they’ve had a chance to play and get to know our school community, they realise school is fun, meaning they’re enthusiastic about their first day.”  

Good Samaritan Catholic College Bli Bli Principal Greg Myers said his school involves their future students in all aspects of our school life.  

He said he ensures Catholic Early EdCare kindergartens are encouraged to send their young students along to attend assemblies, borrow books from the school library, participate in College celebrations such as Book Week, Mother’s Day, cross country, and athletics carnivals.  

“We find this approach fosters a sense of belonging and allows for a smoother transition to school,” he said.  

“Having close connections with our local kindergartens, including Catholic Early EdCare Kindergarten Good Samaritan Kindergarten, which is located on our College campus, means our teachers are able to observe students in advance of their first day, meaning we can tailor support to our future students before they start school.  

Our Year 6 students also visit our local kindergarten students as part of their learning, with our students this year interviewing the kindergarten students about their likes and then designing a picture book about that child, which they later read together.”  

Catholic Early EdCare Program and Practice Manager Kirsten Holland said that in the first five years of life, children learn best about their world through engaging in play-based experiences and building strong responsive relationships with others. 

“Through our close relationships with BCE schools, children build confidence in different settings and a sense of belonging as part of something bigger,” she said.  

“It also supports their transition to school when the time comes.  

“As part of our transition to school programs, the kindergarten children really enjoy their regular visits to our co-located schools and getting involved in community activities including sports carnivals, book week celebrations, and liturgies.” 

Top stories