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, 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.
Detailed consultation findings are available in the final report: Transition Research.
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.
Supporting English as an Additional Language at Transition to School
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
Strengthening Reciprocal Visits Between Early Childhood Educators and Schools Teachers
Between October 2014 and May 2015, 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. The visits took place in Puckapunyal, Banyan Fields, Tarneit and Bendigo.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org