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Transition to School

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:

  • families
  • 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)

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 

Strength-based approach

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) | (docx - 382.64kb)

2015 consultation

A consultation on the Transition: A Positive Start to School initiative was conducted from May through June 2015 involving over 500 early childhood, school and OSHC professionals, and families and children across Victoria.

The consultation involved 369 prior to school professionals, 134 school and OSHC educators, and small focus groups with 42 families and 33 children. The information gathered through the consultation is currently being analysed. This information will inform the design and development of new and revised resources to strengthen children's and families' transition to school experiences. More details will be available on this website over the coming months.

If you have further questions or comments regarding the consultation, please contact the transition to school unit at:    

For more information, see: Transition: A Positive Start to School

More information

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:​​