Lynbrook Primary School: Preparing preps

Transition to prep from early years education settings can be demanding for any family, but it is particularly challenging for families of refugee backgrounds. Lynbrook Primary School in Melbourne’s outer south-east was concerned it didn’t know enough about its prep students and families, so it developed a new process to become better informed.

The school has almost 1,000 students, 65 per cent with a language background other than English. The school was part of the 2017 Refugee Education Support Program (RESP) and decided a RESP team member should meet with each prep family to identify ways to further support their transition.

The new process promoted the importance of language maintenance and supporting students in their foundational learning for prep. If appropriate, families are now directed towards the school’s successful Family Language Club, which promotes language maintenance.

As part of RESP, the school also redeveloped its enrolment checklist to include questions about previous education experiences. It also ensured students and families received a meeting with wellbeing staff two weeks after enrolment.

Another initiative that supported families at enrolment time was ensuring parents/carers were assisted to download FlexiBuzz, the school’s chosen digital communication channel, and were helped to set it to their home language.

Lynbrook Primary School worked hard to ensure students and families remained on its agenda. It put significant effort into its RESP-year Harmony Day, developing a video with students saying ‘Hello’ in all of the school’s community languages, and a visual display of the video initiative in the school reception area. This activity highlighted the large number of languages spoken at the school and promoted a sense of inclusion for all students.