Back to School

School holiday ideas: activities and worksheets

Livia Gamble Keep the kids entertained with these activities and worksheets for children of all ages.

Skills your child needs before starting kindergarten

Skills your child needs before starting kindergarten.

Rashida Tayabali A successful transition to school sets up a child to succeed in academics and professional life in the long term.

How do you know when your child is ready for school?

School ready: How to know when it's the right time.

Helen Skouteris and Jennifer McIntosh One of the most hotly debated issues at this time in a child's life is the age of entry into the first year of primary school.

Starting age for first year of school

Ready for first year of school

Here is our list of Australian states and territories minimum age and cut-off dates for first year of school.

School holidays provide lessons of their own


Andrew Daddo He might get to do all kinds of crazy things in the South African jungle for work but Andrew Daddo says that this time of year reminds him that he has the best job ever - and it's not the one he gets paid for.

Principals warn speeding parents to slow down

Walk, scoot or cycle to school to ease local traffic

Alexandra Smith and Christopher Harris Principals are warning parents their "dangerous" driving is putting children's lives at risk after 2000 motorists were caught speeding in school zones in the first four days of school and hundreds fined for illegal parking.

Did school turn your sweet child into a tantrum-throwing nightmare?

When school turns your child into a mini monster ...

Tamara Heath The first year of school can be a trying time but for Tamara Heath her sweet-natured daughter had been exchanged for an extremely unpleasant one.


Making friends at the start of school


Saman Shad Is your child struggling to make friends at big school? Saman Shad’s daughter did but the experience had a surprisingly positive effect on her..

The first day of school sets the tone for academic achievement

First day: the start of the school journey.

Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett Whether your child is feeling slightly anxious about starting school or bursting with excitement, all children benefit from a bit of planning and preparation in order to ensure the transition to school goes as smoothly as possible.

Technology expenses raising back to school costs


Justine Davies Does your child attend one of the growing number of schools that use high-tech teaching methods? Here is what you should consider before sending them to class with an iPad.


Do you belong to the 'Competitive Lunch Box' circle?

Lunch box judgement: Do you compete for the prize of best lunch?

Kerri Sackville If you find yourself among the quarter of parents who say they feel there is competition with other parents about lunch box contents Kerri Sackville has a solution for you.


Harry's ready to hear all about school

Five-year-old Harry Cecceto  is about to start mainstream school.

Letitia Rowlands When little Harry Cecceto's parents were told their little boy was profoundly deaf when he was a toddler, they were concerned their son might not be able to attend a mainstream school.

7 reasons I won't miss my kids when they go back to school

I'm bored: How many times did you hear this over the break?

Bianca Wordley While I’m not that keen to get back into the daily lunchbox, school uniform, crazy school run rush, I am quite excited for my kids to get back to school.

Putting the new school year in perspective


Andrew Daddo A new school year is upon us, for some it will be their very first, and Andrew Daddo has some sage words of advice to help put it all in perspective.

Ditch the home readers – real books are better for your child

Do you have a say in which books your child gets sent home from school to read?

Ryan Spencer It’s no wonder that so many children dislike reading their home reader but is there an alternative?

Keeping kids ready for starting school in the holidays

When the wait is far too long ...

Catherine Rodie Orientation day feels like a long time ago – how do we keep up the momentum?

Getting organised: a guide for first time school parents

Starting school is a challenge for parents too.

Catherine Rodie This year I will face my biggest parenting challenge to date – my eldest daughter starts school, thus forcing me to adopt the one thing I have so far resisted – a routine.

The end of a childhood chapter

The end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

Michaela Fox No one told me years would disappear in a blink; that time would speed up right when I want it to slow down.

2015 School Holiday Dates and School Term Dates


2015 school holiday dates and school term dates for all Australian states on Essential Kids.

8 things I've learned in the first term of school

Lesson learnt ... Never let your kids start playing before they are ready for school in the morning.

Megan Blandford If you’re the parent of a kid who just started school this year, your life has probably changed in many ways over the past couple of months.

Comments 1

First day of school


Megan Blandford A mum’s experience of two first days of school.


When awful school drop-offs can't be fixed


Victoria Birch "It’s always been this way for me. From the early nursery days when I left an angry bundle of limbs with the carers, drop-offs have been a nightmare. My boy is an emotional kid and wears his angst on his sleeve."


Ripping up the playground rule book delivers incredible results


Michaela Fox Picture a school playground without rules. Surely conflict and bedlam would prevail. Or maybe not, as one Auckland Primary School has discovered.

Comments 8

What to do if your child hates school


Jodi Gibson “I don’t want to go to school!” It’s a common cry from children in households all over Australia at one time or another but it is the last thing you want to hear from your little one as they head off to school for the first time.

Comments 1

How to decipher parental playground tribes

The rough-and-tumble of the playground.

Kath Kenny A hilariously handy guide to other parents you'll meet in the playground. Which tribe do you fall into?


5 strategies to cope when starting school solo

Is your child starting school solo this year?

Donna Webeck It's estimated 300,000 children will experience their first day of "big school" this year, however the reality for some is that they will be starting school solo, without the security of a familiar face. My son is one.


What to expect from the first year of school

What one mother wishes she knew when she sent her son off to 'big' school last year ...

Lisa Almond What one mother wishes she knew when she sent her son off to 'big' school last year.

Why I am glad my child plays alone

Why solo playground time is not always a bad thing ...

Patricia Tan When you learn your child has spent their lunch time at school alone in the playground your heart sinks. But Patrica Tan discovered it is not always bad news.

Comments 5

Keeping back to school costs under control

Tips to ensure sending the kids back to school won't break the bank.

Justine Davies Coming off the back of Christmas and the summer holidays, the costs of getting the kids back to school can be the financial equivalent of the last straw. Here is how to cut the costs.

Do girls really do better at same-sex schools?

Do girls benefit at school away from boys?

Carolyn Tate While Carolyn Tate had always planned to send her two daughters to an all-girls school, she recently began to question her decision.

Comments 8

Creating a homework space for your kids


Create an organised space for your kids to make doing their homework a little more bearable.

Teach your kids to tie their shoelaces


Livia Gamble Tying your shoe lace is something most us don’t have to take a second thought about, but for little fingers fastening their shoes can take a little time to master.


Lunchbox slices, biscuits,cookies


What can I bake for the kids school playlunch? Looking for a little sweet treat for after school snack? Here is a collection of yummy bickies, cookies, slices to pop into their lunchboxes.


Lunchbox muffins


Looking for lunchbox ideas? Here is our collection of tasty muffins that can be prepared ahead, frozen and ready to pop into the lunchbox each day. There is a flavour here that is sure to suit every kid.


Lunchbox savory snacks and slices


I need some savory ideas for the kids lunchbox. Here we have pulled together a list of recipes on Essential Kids that might make a great savory snack or lunch. Also a great idea for the after school snack if you are wishing to steer away from the sweet stuff.


Victim of homophobic bullying making schools safer

“I firmly believe all children have a basic human right to be safe, happy and to learn in order to have a chance of fulfilling their true potential,” says Shaun.

Brooke Lumsden Shaun Dellenty was a victim of homophobic bullying at school but now, as an educator himself, he is giving children like 15-year-old Lachlan, the courage to stand up for change.

2014 School Holiday Dates and School Term Dates


2014 school holiday dates and school term dates for all Australian states on Essential Kids.

When your child's friends are bad news

What to do when you don't approve of your child's friend.

Jo Hartley The age-old saying goes ‘You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’. But when you are a child, does that rule still apply? Or is it the case that your family have the right to choose your friends?

Comments 4

Students with disabilities are still being left out at mainstream schools

Exclusion is everywhere in Australian education.

Kathy Cologon Exclusion is everywhere in Australian education for disabled children even when they appear to be included they are still not given the opportunities and activities afforded to others.

When your last child starts school

Starting school

Nova Weetman The first day of school is a special milestone but when it is your last child it can be hard to let go and embrace the moment.

Comments 1

Primary Preparation: Getting ready for big school

Help your child get excited, not anxious about big school.

Jennifer Morton Families all over the country are preparing for February when their five-year-old babies will reach another important milestone but how do you help smooth the transition?

Top books to read about starting school


Staff Writers Great books for your little one who is heading off to preschool, kinder, fyos, prep. Track them down at your local book shop or library to help introduce the new experience of going to school with your little one.

Comments 1

Is your child ready for school?

Is your child school ready?

Josefa Pete With schools already taking enrolments for 2014, some parents face the pivotal decision of whether to enrol, or hold their child back, from school.

Comments 2

School of hard knocks


Tony Featherstone Is it time for free public education to be means-tested?

Good start for gifted kinders

Tom Pepper: 160213: Sun Herald: News/ Features: 16th of February 2013: Portrait of Tom Pepper at his Randwick house. Tom recently sat for the Best Start Assesment which appraises children in order of academic achievement. Photo by James Alcock.Tom Pepper 25982.jpg

Cosima Marriner One in six children starting school in NSW has the numeracy skills expected of a year 1 student, prompting the Education Department to develop a gifted and talented resource package for kindergarten teachers.

The start of class and the end of an era

First day of kindergarten school for 5 year old Tiarni Mara at Curtin Primary School

Hamish Boland-Rudder There may have been pre-school and orientation days for the children, but seemingly there is nothing that can prepare a parent for the separation of the first day of kindergarten.


Dr. Joanna McMillan

Joanna's lunchbox tips

joanna mcmillan

Dr Joanna McMillan With our kids back to school this week, you may be breathing a sigh of relief or missing their noise and chatter around the house. But one commonality I hear from all parents is stress over what on earth to put in their lunchboxes.

Delayed start not always a good idea

Pic of Professor Andrew Martin, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. Story - Sam From: Verity Leatherdale [] Sent: Thursday, 13 October 2011 12:38 PMTo: Samuel HallSubject: pic of Professor Andrew Martin, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney Verity LeatherdaleMedia Adviser - Arts and Social Sciences / Law / Education and Social Work / Sydney IdeasMedia and Communications | Marketing and Communications Division                                                           THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEYLevel 2, G12 Services Building| NSW | 2006 T +61 2 9351 4312  |  M +61 0419 278 715E W  Follow us on Twitter: @SydneyUni_Media    Andrew Martin 2.jpeg.JPG

Cosima Marriner Parents are increasingly delaying starting their children at school by a year, even though education experts warn holding a child back generally results in no long-term learning advantage.

Protect their back


Staff writers You don’t have to look far to see a child being weighed down by their school bag and with another school year already begun now is the perfect time to ensure your child’s spine is being protected.

Sleep routine vital for new school year


Lisa Salmon Whether it's your child's first time or one of many new school years, the key to getting kids ready for the first week back is sleep and preparation.

Keeping back-to-school costs down

Analaura & Wilson Luna Getting the kids ready to head back to the classroom can be a very expensive process and when you're inundated with 'back to school' ads and kids who want one of everything, it can be hard to know where to begin! Here are our five top tips to help parents as the countdown to the new school year starts.

Creating a homework haven


Katie Carlin Homework. For decades the mere word has incited groans of annoyance from students and parents alike but it doesn’t have to be a chore. We asked child psychologist Jodie Benveniste for her tips on how to create a homework haven that will help kick off the new school year on the right foot.

Back to school tips


We asked mums for their best tips on back to school or starting school - here is what they said.

Activities to try with your child before starting school


Schools NSW Some helpful activities to do with your child before starting school to make school a little easier for them.

Starting school: the essential checklist


Starting school this year? Avoid panic with this schedule based on tips from the super-organised mums at

School readiness: Points to consider

School support

Amber Robinson With the new school year just around the corner many parents are wondering if they've made the right decision to enrol, or hold back, their child from school.

Catch phrases making kids run


Linda Morris A leading scholar says traditional learn-to-read books make children switch off.

Ten reasons why your child is bed wetting

bed wetting

ADVERTORIAL Here are ten of the reasons why your child is wetting the bed and how you can help them stop they cycle.

How does bed wetting affect your child's self esteem

bed wetting

ADVERTORIAL What is Bed Wetting and How Does it Affect Your Child’s Self Esteem

Finding the right school is all about asking the right questions


Thomasin Litchfield Are you facing the dilemma of where to send your child to school? Thomasin Litchfield has the questions every parent should ask before they decide.

Follow Us

Latest on EK

Win a Family Farm Trip with Shaun the Sheep

To celebrate the Home Entertainment release of Shaun the Sheep Movie, Essential Kids and Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are offering one winner and their family a holiday to a farm.

Hair accessories from your childhood

Remember back to your ballet bun or spending hours with the hair crimper? We take a look at some of the fun, silly, pretty products, inspiration and methods we used to style our hair from our own childhood in the 80's, 90's and 00's.

11 easy DIYs to spruce up your teen girl's bedroom

Click through the gallery for some simple ideas and tutorials.

Teacher creates Harry Potter themed classroom

An Oklahoma teacher is literally immersing her students in the world of reading, remaking her classroom to resemble something out of JK Rowling's wizarding world.

Ten favourite TV and movie nannies

Having a nanny around the home is very beneficial for parents and for kids.

Kmart decor hacks

Entire communities on Instagram are devoted to showing Kmart homewares prepped, preened and hacked into designer items.

Awards 2015: Vote now for a chance to win $2000

Vote for your favourite pregnancy, baby and toddler products for your chance to win your share of $2500 in cash prizes.

Find After School Care

Search by Postcode

Find a Babysitter

  • Daytime nannies
  • Casual babysitters
  • After-school care
  • Live-in nannies