Hunter kindy kids all smiles for start of school

New chapter: Koby Schumann and Matilda Di Donna started kindergarten at Waratah on Thursday, after their literacy and numeracy skills were assessed earlier in the week. Both have siblings at the school. Picture: Helen Gregory
New chapter: Koby Schumann and Matilda Di Donna started kindergarten at Waratah on Thursday, after their literacy and numeracy skills were assessed earlier in the week. Both have siblings at the school. Picture: Helen Gregory

MATILDA Di Donna arrived at school with one very important item on her to-do list.

Her mother, Sharyn, said she was “desperate to learn to read”.

“We have books that are accompanied by CDs and she pores over them, asking what the words mean,” Mrs Di Donna said.

Matilda or Tilly, five, was one of 58 students to start kindergarten at Waratah Public School on Thursday.

The students completed their Best Start Kindergarten Assessment on Tuesday and Wednesday, to identify their literacy and numeracy skills.

Matilda’s parents Sharyn and Andrew said she had been ready to hit the classroom for the past six months.

“She already knows how to write her name, her ABCs and her 123s and her older sister Ella has been teaching her things, but we haven’t been grilling her,” she said.

“We’re trying not to focus on it being a big deal.

“But this morning she was up and knew how to pack her bag and what to put in her lunchbox.

“We’re so excited for her – a little sad at this being the beginning of the next stage, but just a touch.

“We know she’s going to come home and say ‘Oh my God, I had the best day’.”

Matilda said she was feeling “nervous and crazy excited”.

“School will be nice and good and very fun,” she said.

“I will play and write and learn and listen.”

But her mother wasn’t quite so sure. 

“She’s not shy – she’s very good at talking, socialising and making friends but not that great at listening,” Mrs Di Donna said.

“It will be great bringing her into a classroom situation where it’s not just mum and dad telling her what to do.”

Koby Schumann, five, woke on Thursday with “butterflies”, but was looking forward to joining his older brother Ben, who is in year one.

His parents Trish and Nathan said the boys had mutual friends and were likely to spend a lot of time together on the playground.

“Koby hides his confidence a little bit but when he gets comfortable then his true colours will shine,” Mr Schumann said.

“He’s a quiet achiever. He’s fun, cheeky and has a good sense of humour.

“If he’s anything like his dad he’ll probably be a class clown.”

Koby said he was looking forward to seeing “computers and iPads and playing learning games”.

Principal Trish Bowen said most of the school’s kindergarteners felt confident and comfortable on their first day because of a transition program that formally introduced them to the school in term three the year before. Many students also attended the preschool on the school site.

“The only people that need consoling on the first day are parents,” she said. “We offer free hugs at the end.”

Students’ return to classrooms have been staggered this week, depending on their school and grade.

Some kindergarten students won’t start until next week.

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