Reflections on the transition to school
By this time of year many parents have already chosen the school their child will attend while others are still undecided whether or not their child will be ready for this next transition. Research has consistently shown that a smooth transition greatly helps the child to manage this change. Their experience of the early grades at school will colour the rest of their academic life. How can you as parents and we as an educational community support this transition?
Any opportunity for your child to visit the school, meet the teachers and get to know the expectations of Prep will be helpful. Many schools have playgroups, information days or evenings, open days and other opportunities to take your child to the school and support their familiarity with the teachers, environment and other children. These opportunities are also an excellent way for you to start to meet teachers and other parents, helping you to create networks to support your child.
Depending on the school you choose for your child/ren you, as parents may have many opportunities to help familiarise your child with their next learning environment .Do they have a Fete coming up? Is there a fundraising event you could attend? What about swimming lessons or other sporting activities such as Little Athletics or Karate that may be held in the school grounds? The school’s website will have information and contacts for finding out what formal and informal transition processes are available.
For those children attending After School Hours Care it will be helpful to visit the premises with your child and meet the staff and other children. Will they have to catch a bus or be collected to get to OSHC? What school holiday activities are available?
All over Queensland schools are being encouraged to actively reach out to the community, especially the Early Childhood Community to form collaborative partnerships that will support smooth transition processes for children starting the Prep year. If you have concerns about your child’s readiness for school these collaborative relationships can help to support your decision making process.
Schools will listen to your concerns and may or may not support a delayed entry to Prep where appropriate. The sooner they hear your worries, the earlier they can act to support your child.
Here at Springfield Child Care and Early Education Centre we have been active partners collaborating with local schools to enhance the transition process. We have hosted visits from three schools and have attended Information Meetings with local schools. We have written reports and communicated by phone for individual children. An exciting development is being involved in the initiation of the Greater Springfield Early Childhood Network. Through this collaborative partnership we can network with local schools and service providers to enhance communication and understanding of how each educational facility works to support each other.
At the end of each year as an Approved Kindergarten Program we provide for each child a Transition Report based on the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline. These are an invaluable resource for your child’s Prep teachers. We also provide the Portfolio of the learning journey of your child at our centre. At a recent Network meeting the schools were unanimous in their enthusiasm to read these documents as they are such helpful resources.
As I look back over the last two decades and reflect on the many changes I have witnessed in the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector I must conclude that the openness of schools to engage with parents and community to support the Transition to Prep is one of the most heartening.
Written by Kate Shapcott
Eskay Kids Springfield