Transition to school action area research


View t​he supporting successful transitio​​ns: School decision-making tool​.​​​​

​​Respect for diversity ​​​​​

Key resource​
Who Has Rights to What? Inclusion in Australian Early Childhood P​​​rograms Anne Petriwskyj discusses the genealogies of early childhood education and care, early primary school, special education and cultural education to identify re​curring and emergi​ng approaches to inclusion within Australian programs for children from birth to 8 years.
The journey to big school: Supporting Ab​original and Torres Strait Islander children transition to primary school.This report from the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care outlines the ke​y enablers and barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander childre​n experiencing a positive transition to primary school.
Facilitating children's transition to ​school from families with​ complex support needs (PDF, 2.8MB)​This guide from Charles Sturt University can assist schools to take a strengths-based approach in supporting families and their children through the transition to school.
School readiness: what does it mea​n for Indigenous children, families, schools and communities This report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlights common themes and strategies that support successful transition programs and identifies gaps in knowledge and data. An overview of transition programs that support Australian Indigenous children, families and communities is also provided. 

Alice Spring​s (Mparntwe) Education Declaration (PDF, 5MB)

This Declaration sets out the vision for education in Australia and a commitment to improving educational outcomes for young Australians. It articulates the nation’s vision for a world class education system that encourages and supports every student to be the very best they can be, no matter where they live or what kind of learning challenges they may face.

The important role of early childhood education is described, with every young child having the opportunity to benefit from structured, play-based learning before they start school. The early years are acknowledged as integral to building the social, emotional and cognitive skills children need to succeed in the years to come.

Early Learni​ng: Everyone Benefits (2017)
State of early learning in Australia 2017, Canberra.


Early Learning: Everyone Benefits is a national campaign​ leading Australians to value the benefits of quality early learning for all children, and for Australia's future prosperity. The campaign is supported by a national coalition of early childhood and parent peak bodies, providers, community organisations and individuals.​

Effective use of data

Key resource Description
Evidence into​ action topi​cal paper – sc​hool readiness (PDF, 652KB)
The Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARACY) explores the concept of school readiness in the context of shared responsibility between schools, communities and families, converting research findings about transition into practical messages.
Starting school: ​A pivotal life transition for children and their familiesThe Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) provides an overview of two data measures and case studies highlighting effective and promising policy and strategies in the approach to school transition.
Transition to school: Looking forward (PDF, 30KB)The University of Melbourne summarises skills and behaviours which predict adjustment to school. Using data from the Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990), it seeks to help identify children at risk of poor adjustment during the first year of school. 

Responsive environments​​

Key resourceDescription
Continuity of l​earning resources (PDF, 1.1MB)
Early Childhood Australia (ECA) discusses continuity of learning in the context of supporting effective transitions to school.
A Seamless T​ransition (PDF, 32KB)The University of Melbourne highlights environmental influences on child wellbeing and behaviour in transitions.
Transition to Primary School: A Review of the Literature (PDF, 419KB) Kids Matter notes support needed by schools and families during the transition to school in their literary review. This review also equips the reader with knowledge, skills and resources. 'Ready School' environments are explored.
Emerging patterns in place-based appro​aches: International perspectives (2017) Murdoch Children's Research Institute/The Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville VictoriaThis report discusses investment in place-based approaches — local solutions to local problems — as a strategy that shows promise for improving outcomes for children in disadvantaged locations. This report focuses on replicable learnings from researchers and practitioners in place-based programs, policy and research across the UK, US and Australia.

Lifting Ou​r Game​ (PDF, 2.7MB)

​This national review was undertaken in 2017 on current successes, challenges and priorities in early childhood through targeted consultation across Australia. The report makes recommendations on the most effective interventions to be deployed in early childhood, with a focus on school readiness, improving achievement in schools and future success in employment or further education​.​

Effective pedagogy and practice​

Key resource Description

Early Years Learning Framewor​k (2009) (PDF, 718KB)


Australia's first national Early Years Learning Framework recognises children experience belonging, being and becoming in different ways, and bring a range of prior knowledge and experiences to their learning. The EYLF aims to extend and enrich children's learning from birth to five years and through the transition to school.
Age-appropriate pedagogies for the early years of schooling: Foundation Pape​r​​
​This paper provides a review of the literature and research of age-appropriate pedagogies to inform learning and teaching practices in the early years of schooling.
Rethinking the transition to school: Linking schools and early years services (PDF, 70KB)The Royal Children's Hospital, Victoria briefly summarises research around transition to school, highlighting important implications for policy and practice. Examples of transition strategies which promote a positive experience of children and their families are provided, including linking schools and early years services. 
Multiple perspectives on continuity i​n early learning and the transition to school (PDF, 49KB)The University of Melbourne provides diverse views and experiences of transitions by child, family, early childhood and school teachers through surveys and case studies. The results highlight the importance of environment which leads to a broader discussion about continuity of learning. 
Outcomes of good practice in transition processes for children entering primary school (PDF, 141KB)The Bernard Van Leer Foundation links the early years' services and home environment to school, using several international examples. Emphasis is placed on continuity for optimal transition and strong teacher-child relationships to support resilience through change.

Reciprocal relationships

Key resource Description
Continuity of Learning: A resource to support effecti​ve transition to school and school age care (PDF, 9.4MB)
Charles Sturt University have developed a national guide to effective prior-to-school practices for parent​s, ECEC services, school and partners across the community, sharing transition experiences through engaging narratives.
Startin​g school: effective transitions
OECD—Starting Strong V: Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education
The children's voice in the complex transition into kindergarten and school (PDF, 29KB)The University of Melbourne explores the transition of family from the home to institutional settings, led by the perspectives of children, families and teachers. The study demonstrates the​se groups have different expectations of transition. 
Last updated 28 August 2023