Background to positive transitions to school

Transition: A Positive Start to School is a Victorian government initiative that introduces a consistent approach to guide families, early childhood services, outside school hours care services and schools to support a positive start to school for all children.

It outlines what all families can expect when participating in local transition to school programs and provides a shared understanding between early childhood services, outside school hours care services and schools about what is important for children and their families during this pivotal time.

The initiative also introduces a tool for families and educators to share information about a child’s learning and development in the form of a Transition Learning and Development Statement.

What an effective transition looks like

A combination of approaches and processes is required to support effective transition and continuity of learning, which is achieved when: 

  • respectful, trusting and supportive relationships are maintained among all those working with children and their families
  • information about the children is well understood, shared and valued
  • children have the opportunities to have their say about what is important to them
  • processes are adapted in response to the local communities and individual children and families
  • children and families who require additional support are identified early, and support is planned and delivered through a collaborative approach.

Why transition statements are used

Early childhood educators and teachers document children’s learning and development in many ways. Using a transition statement is a useful way to share this information more formally and consistently with families and other educators. The statement helps make each child’s learning and development visible at the point of entry to school to both families and professionals working with them in the school environment.

The format of the statement promotes consistent transfer of information, irrespective of the school a child is going to, or where a child attended an early childhood service.

The statement reflects the five learning outcomes identified in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF), which underpin all early childhood professionals’ approaches to planning for children’s learning and development, and provides a common language for families and educators linked to the Victorian Curriculum.

Other information collected

While the transition statement will contain a significant amount of information about a child, there are a number of services and settings that collect information about a child’s learning and development throughout the first eight years of their life.

For example, prior to school assessments are undertaken by services that include, but are not limited to, Maternal and Child Health services and early childhood intervention services. These assessments address the specific learning, wellbeing and development profiles of a child at various points throughout early childhood.

In addition, a number of assessments take place when children enter school. These include, but are not limited to, the school entrant health questionnaire and the English and mathematics online interviews. These assessments provide the opportunity for teachers to find out more about each child, their abilities and interests, and play a role in assisting the school and prep teachers to understand the learning and development needs of each child.

The transition statement provides relevant, timely information from early childhood educators and families to schools. The timing of the transition statement means that the information contained in it gives schools insights into the child’s learning and development before they have entered prep. In most cases the statement is provided to schools in October or November the year before the child starts school.

These outcomes are linked to the Victorian curriculum. The section completed by families (section 3: the family) has valuable information and insights that can also support a smooth transition.

Together, the transition statement and all the other information collected about a child provide a strong foundation from which the prep teacher and outside school hours care educator can plan effectively to support the continuity of each child’s learning and development.

For more information, see:

Research projects

A number of research projects explore how educators, schools and families can work together support children get a positive start to primary school. Research about transition to school

Strength-based approach guide

The strength-based approach is about assisting people (educators, children and families) to build a picture of what a child’s learning and development could look like in the future. It views situations realistically and looks for opportunities to complement and support existing strengths and capacities as opposed to focusing on, and staying with, the problem or concern.

The guide was developed in consultation with early childhood and school educators, professionals, academics and stakeholders. You can use this resource to learn more about the strength-based approach and to help you with writing and interpreting statements. 

For more information, see:

For further information ​on Transition to School, contact: psts@edumail.vic.gov.au​​