Transition to school sessions provide families with an opportunity to connect
After being approached by parents seeking refreshments whilst their children attended their first transition to school session, Our Place identified an opportunity to facilitate a parent chat session to occur during subsequent transition sessions.
Listening and responding to community needs
To support Westall Primary School’s transition program for future foundation (prep) students, Our Place Community Facilitator Nat was on site to greet parents and carers. During this time, a few people approached her asking where they could get a glass of water, where the nearest coffee shop was and where they could wait for their children. Nat would usually encourage parents to visit the library and the hub; however, as the current foundation students were utilising these spaces, parents and carers did not want to intrude.
Working collaboratively with site partners
This situation led to Nat thinking about how Our Place could support families with a space to relax and chat whilst their children attend the transition sessions. After sharing this thought with the school, Nat discovered that they also had a similar idea in mind. Nat then worked with the school to identify a free space during each future transition session that parents and carers could use.
Creating opportunities for community connections
Being aware that most parents and carers would not know each other and may not be aware of some of the great on site opportunities and supports available, Nat felt that organising a regular chat session would be beneficial. The following week as parents and carers arrived, Nat informed them that a room was available for them to hang out in and provided water, tea, coffee and biscuits.
Due to the interest and uptake, these sessions will continue for the duration of the transition sessions. Various parents and carers attend each week, and each session provides many opportunities. Parents and carers connect and continue to develop friendships. Regular discussions occur around transitioning to school and how they and their children feel about it. Parents and carers also learn from each other and openly share resources and information they are aware of.
“One of the best things about the transition session has been the socialising aspect of it. It brings so much ease for me to get to know other parents here while my daughter is making friends in her class.” – A parent who attends the sessions
As Nat facilitates each session, she is also available to support families in completing enrolment paperwork, connect them with opportunities and share information about upcoming events, programs and activities within the school and the hub.
“It has been great connecting with new parents and carers. These sessions have assisted parents and carers in feeling included, valued, and connected to the school and hub. It has also supported families to feel at ease about the next chapter of their children’s lives. During one session, a parent also brought in a cake she had made to share passion for baking with others and show her appreciation of others’ company” – Nat, Community Facilitator
Aligning with the Our Place Approach
This is one example of the role Our Place plays in building community relationships and engagement. Our Place Community Facilitators and Partnership Managers are located at each Our Place site and a significant part of their role is focused on engaging the community by providing activities and opportunities for connection. They also work alongside site partners in order to provide appropriate spaces for the community to connect and feel welcome in the school environment. For more information about the evidence based Our Place approach Click Here