Promoting positive education and care transitions for children

Education Children Social isolation Early childhood education Youth Australia

This Resource Sheet is a review of research regarding children’s transition from home, to early childhood education and care services and then to school, with a specific focus upon both children and parents’ experiences of those transitions.

The factors that influence a child’s ability to adapt to school are considered and case studies of promising transition programs are provided.

Key findings:

  • The transitions from home to early childhood education and onto school are important milestones for both children and families. The transition into school is especially significant as “readiness” for school is predictive of long-term academic and occupational achievement.
  • A child’s ability to transition successfully to school depends upon their own personal characteristics (e.g., temperament, personality), parent characteristics (e.g., attitudes to school, maternal education) and community characteristics (e.g., accessibility and quality of local services).
  • In Australia, the transition to school is likely to be more challenging for children from financially disadvantaged families, Indigenous families, families with children who have a disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families. Children from these backgrounds are also less likely to attend an early childhood education and care service before they start school.
  • For children, successful transitions into and from the early learning environment can be facilitated by a range of approaches such as assisting children to understand the routines and practices of the settings they are transitioning into.
  • During both the transition to early learning environments and to school, a partnership between parents and educators/institutions can help parents manage this period of change.
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