When your child's fifth birthday is looming, you'll be the one who needs to school up and educate yourself on the New Zealand education system. Most children start school shortly after they turn five, and all children must be enrolled by their sixth birthday.
Here's the rundown on starting school:
For more information visit the parent's section on the Ministry of Education's website.
When you've decided on a school you'll need to make contact with them to have your child enrolled. Many pre-schools or kindergartens will have the information for the schools they feed into, otherwise contact the school directly. It's important to do this long before your child's fifth birthday - ideally by the end of September of the year before they first start school - to help the school plan for its future rolls.
There are lots of different types of schools eg. contributing, private, public, composite, kohanga reo etc. There are also home-school and correspondence options. You can school up on the full list by visiting http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/AllAges/EducationInNZ/SchoolsInNewZealand/SchoolTypes.aspx
Schools are also ranked according to their deciles. These range between 1-10 and are important because it's how the Ministry of Education allocates funding.
The other thing that's different since many of us were at school is that we don't have primers, standards and forms anymore. It's all years. So your child will either start in Year Zero or Year One depending on the date of their birthday. Check with your school but generally the cut-off is around the end of April.
Before school starts, your child will attend some weekly sessions in their new entrant class in the few weeks ahead of their official start. It's OK for parents to stay for the first couple of sessions, but after that it's a good idea to leave the child to encourage their independence.
The Ministry of Health also offers all children a "B4 school health check" to make sure they are fit and well to start school. Visit http://www.health.govt.nz/yourhealth-topics/children/well-child/about-b4-school-check for more.