Starting school is a major milestone for you and your child. Learn how you can support your child to have a smooth transition.
Why is a positive start to school important?
A positive start to school leads to better learning and wellbeing outcomes for your child both during the transition and beyond. It helps to support your child’s continuity of learning and development and supports them to feel secure, confident and connected to new people and places.
Transition: A Positive Start to School
This initiative aims to support a positive start to school for all children. It will help build a shared understanding between families, early childhood services, out-of-school-hours care services and schools about what is important during this exciting time.
More information about Transition: A Positive Start to School is available in this information sheet for families:
This resource is available in 30 languages, see:
Translated Family Resources
Why participate in transition programs and activities?
Participating in transition to school programs and activities will help you and your child
- get a better understanding of what school will be like
- establish friendships with other children and families who will be attending the school.
Families are encouraged to enrol into the school of their choice as early as possible. Many schools have open days in May. These are a great opportunity for families.
What is a Transition Learning and Development Statement?
The Transition Statement summarises your child’s interests, skills and abilities and identifies individual approaches and teaching strategies to support your child on their learning journey. It shares information about your child’s learning, development and wellbeing between early childhood services, schools and OSHC services (where applicable).
To make it easier to share information between services, schools and families your early childhood service will write an individual Transition Statement for every child as they go onto school. This ensures Early childhood services, schools, OSHC services and families are all partners in nurturing children’s learning and wellbeing.
How to contribute to your child's Transition Statement
It is important for you and your child to contribute to the Transition Statement as it will give your child’s prep teacher or OSHC educator an overview of your child. This will enable them to plan for your child’s continued learning and wellbeing as they settle into school.
Contributing to your child’s Transition Statement is one of the transition to school activities you and your child can participate in before school starts and throughout the school year.
For more information about how to contribute to your child’s Transition Statement see:
This resource is available in 30 languages, see:
Translated Family Resources
Enhanced transitions for children with a disability or developmental delay
Preparation and planning to support a child’s move from early childhood services to school is particularly important for children with a disability or developmental delay. If your child has a disability or developmental delay there might be extra things to think about and do before your child moves to school.
Your child’s early childhood educator will want to work with you in the year before your child starts school to help your child’s school plan for adjustments or resources that may be required. This early planning is called enhanced transition.
Enhanced transitions strategies include:
- planning for school transition early
- using support groups to bring families, early childhood educators, and other professionals who know your child together to share information and plan for the child’s smooth transition with the school
- gathering additional information about your child that might need to be assessed and made available to the school (for example, reports and advice from allied health professionals)
- establishing links with your child’s school early so they have sufficient time to implement any required adjustments or resources.
Enhanced transition planning for children with a disability or developmental delay supports their continuity of learning and development.
Families of children with a disability or developmental delay who reported their child experienced a positive transition to school noted the three main reasons for the success of the transition process were due to:
- the information provided by the ECEC service and school - this led to ‘no surprises’ when the child started school
- teachers reading the Transition Statement and listening to the family, which made the family feel valued in the process and ensured that information did not have to be provided more than once
- flexibility in the approach, ensuring that each child has a transition plan that is tailored to their specific abilities.
What are Program Support Group Meetings?
A Program Support Group helps support families with a child with a disability through the transition into kindergarten and into school, and to feel confident that your child’s interests, abilities and requirements are understood.
By Term 3 of the year before school, your child’s early childhood educator may convene a Program Support Group meeting specifically focusing on the development of a plan to support your child’s move to school. The meeting will include your family and your advocate (if desired), the early childhood educator, a key school contact, and other relevant professionals as required (for example, an early childhood intervention professional, additional school personnel and if relevant an Out of School Hours educator).
The purpose of the meeting is to:
- enable your family and others who know your child to share a picture of the child’s abilities, strengths and requirements
- discuss approaches and initiatives that have supported your child’s participation and engagement in the early childhood program
- consider how this information might inform planning for your child’s inclusion at school, for example, any adjustment, adaptations or supports that might be required to assist your child’s active and successful participation at school
- appoint a kindergarten-to-school transition coordinator. This could be the early childhood educator, relevant school personnel, or another early childhood professional supporting your child
- discuss the school’s orientation program and additional opportunities to visit the school
- consider, where appropriate, whether an application should be initiated for the Program for Students with Disabilities or equivalent program in Catholic and independent schools, if this has not yet occurred
- agree to further actions required, including who will take responsibility for which action and by when.
What families might want to share with the school
You are experts about your child and your family is critical to supporting your child’s transition to school. It is important that you share relevant information about your child and seek the participation of your child’s early intervention professionals, or other relevant professionals, in transition planning.
Your knowledge of your child is valued. You might wish to discuss with or tell the school about:
- your child’s interests, strengths and abilities • any fears and anxieties you might feel about your child starting school
- what to do in an emergency (for example, if your child has health or medical conditions) and what additional safety precautions might be required
- practical skills and tips for your child’s day-to-day self-care (for example, how to help your child get changed for physical education)
- approaches that help settle your child (for example, soothing movements and sounds, strategies to engage or redirect your child)
- how to assist your child to be as independent as possible (for example, at lunch time)
- approaches that assist your child to respond to instructions
- cues and prompts that help engage your child (for example, picture exchange cards)
- potential stress triggers and strategies to manage any challenging behaviours
- what you might wish to have communicated to other families about your child and how it is to be communicated
- assessment reports that you might like to share with the school or prep teacher about your child’s medical background and early intervention history.
What the school might want to know
All schools need to be ready for every child that will attend. Schools might want additional information that helps them understand your child, including:
- the impact of your child’s disability or developmental delay on learning
- how the disability or developmental delay might affect their participation in school activities
- if there are any key strategies they should be aware of to help your child settle into the school environment and support their learning and development
- what programs have been accessed by the you during the previous year(s)
- what additional support might help you and your child make a more successful transition to school.
Children with disability and developmental delays attending government schools
All Victorian Government schools receive base funding to cater for students with disabilities or developmental delays, and can access additional programs.
The Department is committed to delivering an inclusive education system that ensures all children and young people have access to a quality education that meets their diverse needs. A range of policies, programs and resources for schools exist to support the delivery of high-quality schooling for all students, including children and young people with disabilities and developmental delays.
These resources can be provided in the Student Resource Package, through student support services (a workforce including psychologists, social workers, youth workers, speech pathologists and visiting teachers), or through specific early identification and intervention programs. The Program for Students with Disabilities is one such form of provision available to schools.
Not all children with a disability or developmental delay will meet the Program for Students with Disabilities eligibility criteria; however, all children benefit from a planned approach to support sharing of knowledge and preparation for the child’s learning at school.
Children with disability and developmental delays attending non-government schools
For children starting at a Catholic school which is part of the Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) – families should contact the school for advice on how the school can support the learning of a child with a disability or developmental delay, their family and prep teachers.
For children starting an independent school – families should contact the school. There will be similar processes for planning your child’s school program. A program support group might be established as part of this consultation.
Disability Standards for Education
Education providers must comply with the Disability Standards for Education. This includes schools and services providing kindergarten programs. To comply, an education provider must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate a child or young person with a disability. The Disability Standards for Education 2005 apply to all children and young people with disability, not just those who are eligible for support under the Program for Students with Disabilities.
For more information, see
Disabilty Standards for Education