Children regularly transition within and between a range of settings, including: family environments, community settings, education and care settings, other early learning environments and school. Transition practices should be underpinned by the following guiding principles:
- Positive transition experiences for children directly affect their ability to engage successfully in learning and play.
- Knowledge of individual developmental factors, dispositions, cultural matters, and personal experiences, is critical to developing responsive transition practices.
- Children benefit greatly from being active participants in transition experiences with adults who are attuned to their needs, and who are warm and positive in their interactions (with the children involved and also with other adults).
- Families are critical participants in supporting successful transitions, and their role should be valued, for example, inviting them to share information about their child.
- Transitions can be supported through shared professional practices that respect children and honour their rights.
Continuity of Learning: A resource to support effective transition to school age care is a valuable tool for Department of Education (DoE) schools and services, and Education and Care (E&C) services. The definition of school age care in this document is taken from Jennifer Cartmel as “recreation, play and leisure-based programmes for children aged 5-12 years in before and after school settings, and in the vacation periods” (Cartmel, 2007, p. iii).
The resource outlines five principles, which underpin and guide professional work, for effective transition to school age care, including:
- Principle 1: Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships
- Principle 2: Partnerships
- Principle 3: High expectations and equity
- Principle 4: Respect for diversity
- Principle 5: Ongoing learning and reflective practice
These principles and practices relate strongly to the guiding principles of the approved Learning Frameworks and are aligned with the Transition to School: Position Statement (included in the Continuity of Learning resource page 2), which focuses on opportunities, expectations, aspirations and entitlements for all.
- “The key to successful transitions between settings catering for young children will lie in collaboration – collaboration between educators and educational leaders in varied early learning environments; and collaboration with families to ensure that children’s prior experiences are valued, and their current needs are met” (Early Childhood Australia & Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority 2011, p. 29).
- Research into children’s transition to school age care emphasises the importance of communication in the development of strong positive relationships among all those involved in transition. Parents are aware when educators across settings build strong relationships and know that this has a positive impact on their children (Dockett, S. & Perry, B. (2014). Continuity of Learning: A resource to support effective transition to school and school age care. Department of Education, Canberra)
- Transition to school is “an opportunity to build positive connections between the many systems and sectors that engage with young children and their families” (Educational Transitions and Change (ETC) Research Group 2011, p. 4).
- Department of Education (DoE) schools and services, and Education and Care (E&C) services are expected, through Strong Partnerships, to work together in supporting all Tasmanian children who transition between DoE schools and services, and E&C services.
- Leadership teams deliver on their commitment to children by taking responsibility for working actively, respectfully and decisively with each other in order to develop strategies and actions that support transitions.
- Equal responsibility must be taken by DoE schools and services, and E&C services for actively, respectfully and decisively working together to support smooth transitions.
- Supporting children’s transitions between Department of Education (DoE) schools and services, and Education and Care (E&C) services is complex work. It is important to understand context and to develop approaches that are focused, responsive and agreed.
- DoE school and service leaders and E&C service leaders should ensure that the significance of positive transitions within and between services and schools is understood. This can be achieved through developing and embedding shared and sound transition practices.
- There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to supporting successful transitions. Taking into consideration the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), leaders, teachers, educators and families need to regularly share information about children (including children with additional needs, and children under Care and Protection Orders), to support genuine inclusive practice.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds benefit from transition practices that recognise and respect their cultures. Respectful teachers and educators start by talking with families.
- Leaders hold considerable responsibility for establishing transition strategies and protocols that will guide and support their respective teams in their community. Their shared understandings convey the message that everyone is working together to support all children.
- Leaders seek and use data and evidence-based information to develop best-practice approaches to supporting children’s transitions. This information is shared with teams and communicated to families.
- Leaders create formal and informal communication strategies with staff at various levels and between services to be sure that all children are able to transition between Department of Education (DoE) schools and services, and Education and Care (E&C) services comfortably.
- Leaders have knowledge of each other’s settings and purpose. They use this knowledge to collaboratively develop transition strategies that prioritise children’s wellbeing.
REFLECTIONS FOR LEADERS:
- What do I already know about supporting children’s transitions between DoE schools and services, and E&C services? Have I talked to the leader of my partner school/service to find out what they know?
- What strategies and practices are currently in place that support children’s transitions between our services? Have I met with the leader of my partnering service to review them?
- How do I find out what children and families expect and want when moving between my setting and our partnering service?
- How can my team consistently share information about children that will help our partnering teachers and educators to meet their emotional needs?
- Are our shared transition practices across settings working? How do we know?
- How will we work together to develop an approach to managing transitions that is agreed, fair and effective?
- How do we share information about children each day? Is our approach effective?
- Have the children been consulted about what they value when moving between Department of Education schools and services, and Education and Care services, and vice versa?
- How do we create an environment for children each day that is welcoming and attuned to their needs?