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Transition from early childhood education to school: a review of the literature

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Last updated by Tara Fagan

Written by Keryn Davis, CORE Education, June 2010


In 2009 Dr Sally Peters (University of Waikato) undertook a review of the literature both locally and internationally on transition from early childhood education to school, on behalf of the Ministry of Education. 

The material, ideas, perspectives and resources presented in this section have been developed by Jocelyn Wright, Keryn Davis, Ruta McKenzie and Justine Mason of CORE Education. Each of the resources presented have been based on the findings from Peters’ literature review. 

Peters’ Literature review of transition from early childhood education to school was specific, in that it sought to answer the following questions: 

  • What might successful transitions to school look like?
  • How do the characteristics of the child, their family/whānau, the ECE service(s) they have attended and the school they transition to, play a role in how well children transition from ECE to school?
  • Are there any special issues for children who do not share the dominant language of the school?
  • What strategies does the literature suggest for supporting successful transitions?
  • What support might teachers need?
  • How can ECE services and schools (at a service level) best work together to support children to transition as successfully as possible from ECE to school?

Resources for teachers

The resources presented draw on the key messages for teachers that emerged from Peters’ literature review. 

The videos, presentation and words are designed to inspire professional thinking and group discussion by early childhood and primary educators around ways to improve support for children and their families/whānau as they transition from early childhood education to school. The information and perspectives presented in this these resources are useful touchstones for teachers as they review their current transition from early childhood education to school practices.

This work was developed with funding by the Ministry of Education