Big first day for students

Not only will Monday be the first day of pre-primary for twins Dean and Judd Morrison, 5, it will also be when their school Pearsall Primary opens its gates to students for the first time.

Excited by the prospect, the twins and their classmates will be among 32,400 children across WA starting pre-primary, which has replaced Year 1 as the compulsory first stage of schooling.

Education Minister Peter Collier said it was an "historic day" for education in WA.

"Pre-primary is an absolutely vital phase of schooling where children learn the building blocks of literacy and numeracy and adjust to the routine of school life," he said.

Edith Cowan University education senior lecturer Lorraine Hammond said making pre-primary compulsory acknowledged how important it was as the start of a child's academic journey.

University of WA primary program co-ordinator Grace Oakley said an excellent pre-primary teacher and a supportive school environment could make a big difference to a child's educational success. "Although there's a formal curriculum for pre-primary now, there should still be plenty of play-based learning on offer inside and outside the classroom," she said.

Pearsall is one of six new public schools opening for the first time on Monday.

The West Australian

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