Transitions in the early years


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Parents and carers, services, educators, and schools all play a vital role in supporting children to have positive transitions.

Together, let’s make the big moves smaller.

​​​​​​Transitions occur throughout life. They can involve significant milestones or small adjustments to familiar everyday routines. The journey from birth to adulthood is shaped by major life transitions as children grow and develop and participate in new experiences. Transitions occur in many different situations and children are involved in numerous transitions as part of their daily lives.

Transition is associated with a change. While change is something that happens to us, the concept of transition is how we process, manage and respond to the change. Transitions may be anticipated and planned for, or they may result from unexpected changes in life. They can present opportunities and challenges for children as routines, interactions, places and settings may prompt different social, emotional or physical responses in children. These transitions require children to adapt to different ways of operating.

Children respond to and accommodate many transitions across their early childhood years. Whether this be moving into an occasional care service, long day care centre, playgroup, kindergarten or school. Navigating these transitions in early childhood is critical to children’s healthy development and wellbeing, laying the foundation for future learning and better life outcomes.

Each transition provides opportunities and challenges for children as different places and settings provide different ways of operating and different expectations.

Some children may experience additional challenges that could impact their ability to successfully transition into and through the range of settings, places and experiences they encounter during early childhood. If a transition is unplanned or the child does not receive support, these challenges may be amplified.​

Making the move from home to an early childhood education and care setting for the first time is a significant move in a child’s learning journey. See how together we can make the big move smaller.
Caring, playful and nurturing, kindergarten is where children continue their love of learning. See how you can support children in making the move to kindergarten.
Starting school is an important milestone in a child's life and the transition period to formal schooling is a critical time that shapes long-term educational experiences. See how you can help children make the move to Prep.

Supporting children with a disability

Parents and carers play a vital role in supporting children in making the move from home to early year settings, kindergarten and school.​

Before starting the early childhood program, take the time to meet with staff about your child’s preparation for a successful move.

You could:

  • speak with staff to build a relationship
  • share information about your child’s health and support needs
  • provide information about other health professionals or allied health therapists who may be involved in the care of your child
  • share medical information, if required
  • consider specialty equipment required or used at home
  • talk with the early years service and discuss what documentation may be required.

More information

Autism Hub

Check out the Autism Hub online transition resource.

Last updated 19 November 2021