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Promoting a sense of belonging when transitioning to school

 
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As the end of the year approaches, early childhood educators will be supporting children and fam​ilies to transition from early childhood education and care into a school setting. By working together, families, early childhood teachers and school staff help children experience a positive transition to school.

The way transitions are managed can have a significant impact on children’s development and emotional wellbeing.

'The process of transition occurs over ​​time, beginning well before children start school, and extending to the point where children and families feel a sense of belonging at school and where educators recognise this sense of belonging.' (ETC Research Group, 2011)

Supporting children to feel a sense of belonging as they experience their next phase of the learning journey is critical in the transition to school.

What does an effective transition look​​​ like to promote a sense of belonging?

Supporting children to shape their sense of belonging is promoted through effective transition practices. Children who experience positive transitions thrive in their new environment and there are various approaches to promote this.

As early childhood teachers you can support the transition process in a number of ways. An example is ensuring that children have multiple opportunities to visit a school setting during the year. This demonstrates a commitment to supporting children with building safe, secure, respectful relationships and this shapes their sense of belonging to a school environment.

Other considerations:

  • Environments are responsive and inclusive of all children and families.
  • Children and families are supported and have opportunities to build and develop strong collaborative relationships with the school staff.
  • Children and their families have opportunities to share what is important to them as they transition to school.
  • Information about the child shared in the transition statement is well understood and valued by families and school staff.

Why are tran​sition statements important?

Transition statements​ offer a stimulus for conversations between early childhood educators, teachers, families and children and is a foundational tool for schools to support the child.

Kindy teachers write transition statements from a strengths-based perspective towards the end of the year. The creation and documentation of transition statements support families to understand their child’s learning and development progress across the 5 learning and development areas of the Queensland kindergarten learning guideline​ (QKLG). Transition statements also help families to share information with their child’s school to support continuity of learning.

Transition statements support schools to understand each child as a learner and is important to a school’s whole transition process. The information shared provides opportunities for schools to design and enact transition strategies which will foster each child’s strengths and effectively meet their needs.

A collaborative approach is key to the development of transition statements, but also to supporting children’s transition as a whole. It is through these important partnerships that children’s sense of belonging can be prioritised and nurture, so that they experience a strong and successful transition between the different environments. Collaborative partnerships between children, families, teachers and schools provide an ideal opportunity to improve life outcomes for children, working together as agents of change.

Referen​ces

Educational Transition and Change (ETC) Research Group. (2011). Transition to school: Position Statement. Albury-Wodonga: Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education, Charles Sturt University.

Queensland Curriculum & Assessment Authority (QCAA). (2021). Sharing transition statements with schools. Queensland: Queensland Government.

Additional resources​​

Continuity of Learning: A resource to support effective transition to school and school age care (PDF, 11.2MB)​

First year at school: Essential tips for parents and carers

Kindergarten transition statements – QCAA​​​​

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Last updated 03 November 2022