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 - guide
The Transition: A Positive Start to School 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.
Download the guide
To view the guide, see: Transition: A Positive Start to School (pdf - 763.19kb) | (docx - 1.14mb)
New professional development opportunities 2017
In Terms 2 and 3, 2017, the Department of Education and Training will also provide a joint professional learning opportunity for early childhood educators and Prep teachers across Victoria based on the new Resource Kit and online Statement.
Deakin University has been engaged to run approximately 300 workshops across the State, which will include a focus on developing or strengthening relationships to support effective transitions for every child - including how to make the most of the new Transition Statement. More information will be provided in early 2017.
New resources for 2017
The Department is revising and developing new transition to school resources , including:
- The Transition: A Positive Start to School Resource Kit and the Transition Learning
- Development Statement
- a new online tool to create and send Transition Statements.
(Due for state-wide implementation in 2017)
The revised resource kit will be released in early 2017.
The new resources will :
- reflect new research, findings from recent consultations and evaluations, and other transition projects undertaken (i.e. reciprocal visits).
- provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and advice for schools and early childhood education and care services on
- effective processes and practices in transition
- providing enhanced transition support where needed for some children and families.
It has been developed and trialled with input from a range of experts, families and a broad range of early childhood professionals and leaders working in long day care services, kindergarten programs, family day care services, outside school hours care programs and schools.
It is strongly aligned with and underpinned by the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and the Victorian Curriculum F-10, and includes a strong focus on:
- continuity of learning
- equity in transitions.
Resource kit trial 2016
Thank you to those early childhood educators, Prep teachers and other professionals who have participated in the 2016 trial of the revised resource kit, online statement and professional learning in Broadmeadows, Shepparton, Frankston, Horsham and Colac. Your contribution is helping to ensure that these new resources are as useful as they can be.
Strengthening reciprocal visits between Early Childhood Educators and Schools Teachers
Between October 2015 and June 2016, a series of professional learning sessions and reciprocal visits were commissioned to strengthen transition to school processes for children and families. The aim of the visits was to strengthen existing relationships between early childhood and school educators.
This series of professional learning follows on from the 2015–2016 Transition to School: Supporting Reciprocal Visits project which took place in Puckapunyal, Banyan Fields, Tarneit and Bendigo. The focus of the 2016 Reciprocal Visits project was strengthening transitions for Koorie children and families. The visits took place in Morwell and Mildura due to the high numbers of Koorie children and families in these areas.
To take a look at a 3 minute video introduction, read the reports, and watch a video from each site, see: Transition To School, Reciprocal Visits
Online resource - supporting EAL
This online resource provides advice and practical examples of how children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are supported to make a successful transition to school. It is designed to assist and guide early childhood professionals and teachers in schools.
The resource includes case studies illustrating practices that early childhood services and schools employ to ensure a smooth transition for children and their families.
The video vignettes describe how professionals can:
build relationships with children and their families
support home language
support English language development
support transition to school.
To view the VCAA's website for Supporting English as an additional language at transition to school, see: Supporting English as an Additional Language (EAL) at transition to school
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