Starting school is a major transition for children and their families. It is a period of change that can be both challenging and exciting.
As an early childhood professional, you can support children and their families to make this transition as smooth as possible. It is important for you to understand that the transition experience starts well before, and extends far beyond, a child’s first day of school.
Many children start school after going to a kindergarten program, others have attended child care and some may go from home to school. All children will have developed a range of skills and abilities before starting school.
Transition: a positive start to school
The Transition: A Positive Start to School initiative ('initiative') aims to improve children’s experience of starting school by strengthening the development and delivery of transition programs. This provides a shared understanding between early childhood services and schools about what is important for children and their families during this exciting time.
To support a positive start to school for all children, a guide has been developed to provide advice on improving children’s experience of starting school. It is relevant for:
- all early childhood services providing programs for children in the year prior to school
- Outside School Hours Care settings (OSHC) services
- schools in the government, catholic and independent sectors.
The guide provides information on:
- the transition to school context and approach
- transition to school programs
- the Transition Learning and Development Statement.
To view the guide, see: Transition: A Positive Start to School (pdf - 763.19kb) | (docx - 1.14mb)
What's new in Transition
Transition: A Positive Start to School - 2015 Consultation
Across the first half of 2015, Semann & Slattery, on behalf of the Department of Education and Training, conducted a series of consultation across Victoria.
These consultations sought to obtain qualitative feedback from key stakeholders to further strengthen the Department’s understanding of current transition approaches, including the use of Transition Statements and supporting resources, to consider what is working well and where improvements can be made. Thank you to all those who contributed their valuable ideas and feedback at the face to face consultations as well as the online survey.
This information, in conjunction with other projects and data sources, will contribute towards a richer knowledge base on transition to school in Victoria, and enable the Department to better support children, families, and teachers in early childhood and school settings.
A review of the Transition: A Positive Start to School kit will also be undertaken in the second half of 2015, with new resources being developed in advance of the 2016 transition to school process.
Supporting English as an Additional Language at Transition to School
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and the Department of Education and Training (DET) have developed a series of video resources to support children and families who have learned English as an Additional Language (EAL) through their journey in transition.
Supporting children as they move from kindergarten to schools is just one of many transitions for which St Albans Primary School has developed a proactive approach. The school is featured as a case study in Supporting English as an Additional Language at transition to school, a new resource for educators working with children from birth to eight years, to be published by the VCAA in term 3, 2015.
For more information, see: VCAA
Strengthening Reciprocal Visits Between Early Childhood Educators and Schools Teachers
Between October 2014 and May 2015, the Department of Education and Training commissioned a series of reciprocal visits to strengthen transition to school processes for children and families. The aim was to build on and enhance existing relationships between early childhood and school educators.
Monash University conducted reciprocal visits in Puckapunyal and Banyan Fields, while Semann & Slattery in collaboration with Institute of Early Childhood at Macquarie University, conducted reciprocal visits at Tarneit and Bendigo.
The project created valuable working relationships between educators, while also co-developing strategies to enhance the transition to school for young children and their families.
A series of video and text resources for early childhood and school educators have been developed that explain the theory of reciprocal visits, provide practical ways to implement reciprocal visiting in your setting, and demonstrate the value of the professional development. These resources will be publically available from mid-September 2015, through this website.
Transition learning and development statement
A key component of the initiative is the Transition Learning and Development Statement ('statement/s') – a tool for the consistent sharing and transfer of information about a child’s early learning and development irrespective of the setting to or from which the child is transitioning. Its aim is to support continuity of learning as children transition to primary school.
The information in the statement helps prep teachers to get to know the children entering their classes before they start; and to plan for each child’s learning and development when they start school. For information and resources, see: Transition Learning and Development Statement
- The statement is available in electronic and paper-based formats. See: Templates
- To order hard copies of the statement, please see: Resources
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: Strength-based approach guide (pdf - 453.92kb) | | (Word - 382.64kb)
A number of research projects have explored how early childhood education and care services, schools and families can support children to have a positive start to primary school. For more information, see: Research About Transition to School
For the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) evidence papers, the Gowrie Victoria support and advice line and other resources for professionals, see: Resources
For further resources, see:
For further information on Transition to School, please send your enquiry to: email@example.com