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The importance of reviewing transition to school programmes

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Last updated by Tara Fagan

Written by Jocelyn Wright, CORE Education, June 2010

Transition programmes in school and early childhood settings are developed and reviewed within each setting’s community. Transition programmes in one setting will differ to that of another as each strives to develop practices to support the unique characteristics of the children, families/whānau, and education settings within their communities. There is no one recipe for a successful transition to school programme.

Transition programmes involve a much broader focus than solely attending to helping children become familiar with school. Successful programmes are complex and diverse. They vary in timeframe according to each child, family and whānau’s background, experience and funds of knowledge they bring with them. They vary according to educative priorities of teachers, the flexibility in curriculum afforded in each educational setting, and the amount of support teachers are provided to give attention to transition to school. The strength of relationships between teachers, teachers and parents, children, and children and teachers, brings another aspect of complexity to the way successful transition programmes and practices are planned for. The ever-changing nature of this complexity is acknowledged by early childhood and school settings through regular self-review of transition programmes and practices.

Questions to reflect on

  • How frequently do you review your transition to school practices?
  • What do you base your practices on? Do you have a sound current understanding of what is important for children, for families, or for school? 
  • How do you know that your transition to school practices are successful for all children, families and whānau?

This work was developed with funding by the Ministry of Education