In many countries children do not start their primary education before the age of six. However, in Ireland, nearly 40% of 4-year-olds and almost all 5-year-olds attend primary school. This places a huge emphasis on the area of secure and effective transitions due to the difference in both the age range and developmental levels of children. The fact that pre-schools and schools are slow to work as a streamlined entity, makes transitions an area that deserves special attention.
Transitions to a new education setting involve changes for children and families and can impact the entire family. For both children and families, transitions between settings can lead to great excitement and new possibilities. Transitions can also bring on uncertainty and concerns.
Children may experience loss of familiar people and predictable routines. Families may have mixed reactions to their child getting older and wonder if they are ready for the next stage. Early childhood professionals can offer support and guidance to help families feel secure and ready to make the move to a new setting.
Both Aistear and Síolta remind us of the important contribution that Educators and early childhood services can make in both reassuring parents and supporting children to cope with change. Essential to this is helping children develop certain dispositions and skills. These include language, communication and social skills as well as positive learning dispositions like independence, curiosity and resilience.
Below are 3 practical information resources that can be shared with parents. Also you will find the link to the Mo Scéal Pre-School to Primary School Transition Templates. All are useful for both educators and parents in preparing for Pre-school to Primary School Transitions.
1. Aistear Tipsheet: Suggested Activities for Pre-Schools to Support Positive Transitions to School underpinned by Aistear.
2. ‘Ambitions for Transitions: A Guide to Support Every Child’s Progression from Early Years Services to Primary School’ – is an excellent resource pack that includes suggestions and resources for the family, pre-schools and primary schools in Ireland
3. ‘Supporting Students with Special Educational Needs to make Successful Transitions’ – is a guide written by the National Council for Special Education and contains Practical Transition Guidelines for Pre-Schools and Schools
4. Mo Scéal Pre-School to School Transition Templates