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Transitions: Literature review findings

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Last updated by Megan Jensen

Written by Keryn Davis, CORE Education, April 2011

Sally Peters' (2010) review of literature findings between 2004-09[1] may focus on successful transitions from ECE to school, but many of the key findings are also helpful for considering transitions into and within a service too.

When considering how teachers (at an individual level) can best support children to transition as successfully as possible from ECE to school, the findings of Peters' review can be understood in terms of four major themes:

  1. Working with the child
  2. Sharing information
  3. Working with families/whānau
  4. Personal qualities of teachers

Let’s consider the themes as they might be applied, in terms of transitions, more generally.

Working with the child

The child is at the heart of the matter when it comes to transitions and it’s important to consider the child’s whole experience. Careful consideration and thought need to be given to:

  • connecting and valuing the child’s funds of knowledge from home
  • fostering relationships and friendships
  • ensuring teaching is culturally responsive
  • ensuring assessment practices are appropriate.

Peters highlights the importance of making links between learning in ECE and school, but this will also be essential in the context of children attending more than one early childhood service.

Sharing information

Providing information about the child and their family/whānau to the setting the child is transitioning into is an opportunity to build a bridge between the settings for child, their family/whānau, and will support participation.

Activities and events should be planned to allow the child and their family/whānau to become familiar with the new setting. It is important that opportunities to learn about the child and their family/whānau, and for the child and family/whānau to learn about the new setting, are reciprocal and include the child’s perspective when possible.

Working with families/whānau

Relationships between teachers and families/whānau that are built on mutual respect, support positive relationships between the child’s home and ECE or school setting. The positive implications for children where there are home-school partnerships are well documented.

Ensuring there are ongoing opportunities for dialogue between teachers and families/whānau is essential to ensure these relationships continue to strengthen over time.

Personal qualities of teachers

The personal qualities of teachers are central when considering how teachers can best support children to transition as successfully as possible. Teachers will not only employ strategies to support transitions, but will also be proactive in ensuring barriers to successful transitions are overcome.

Teachers will also be flexible, enthusiastic, and adaptable, and have positive attitudes toward children and their families/whānau.