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Supporting the transition to school

Transition as children move into the first year of school is a dynamic process of continuity and change. 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.

(Educational Transitions and Change (ETC) research group, 2011, Transition to School: Position Statement, Albury-Wodonga: Research Institute for professional practice, Learning and Education, Charles Sturt University, p.1.) 

The transition to school is a time of opportunity, aspiration, expectation and entitlement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and educators. As children start school, they are enthusiastic learners, keen to build on their learning. They hope school will be enjoyable and will support their developing independence and willingness to learn. Families hope their children will be happy and successful in school. They expect to be respected as partners in their children’s education. 

An effective transition takes time, as the roles and identities of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children change. Children need to feel secure and confident that they’re cared for and that they can succeed. It’s important they’re listened to and that they and their families feel supported as they manage all the changes that a transition to school brings. 

Planning for positive transitions involves collaboration between educators and professionals across early childhood settings and schools. Through relationship, conversations and planning, educators help children understand the expectations, interactions, routines and practices of a new learning environment. They support children, families and communities to feel secure, valued and successful in school. 

A successful transition will:

  • support children’s identities and expand their experiences through different relationships and communities
  • allow children to be actively involved in decisions and actions that affect them
  • respect and respond to children’s existing competencies, cultural heritage and histories
  • involve families and educators to support children’s learning and development
  • promote continuity of learning through connected curriculum, purposeful pedagogies and meaningful learning environments
  • reflect policies and practices that are strength-based, inclusive and equitable.

Transition statement

A transition statement is a summary of each child’s learning across their kindergarten year with contributions from the kindergarten teacher, parents and child. It’s prepared towards the end of the year before the child starts school, so that learning can build on foundations of earlier learning.

Based on information gathered through the year, each statement will:
 
  • identify the child’s developing knowledge, skills and dispositions in relation to each learning outcome
  • summarise the ‘distance travelled’ across the early learning program
  • describe the level of support required in new and unfamiliar situations
  • include information contributed by the child
  • communicate a family’s knowledge about their child
  • use positive plain language
  • include information about the early childhood service and relevant contact information.

You’ll find a sample transition statement (pdf, 133 kB) in the resources section. Two printed copies of the transition statement should be made available to each child’s family. Families are encouraged to give a copy of the statement to the school when the child starts Prep.

Working together to complete a transition statement gives children, families and educators the chance to:

  • reflect on children’s attainments
  • share responsibilities for future learning
  • share information, concerns, expectations and aspirations.

This may sometimes require the support of first language-speaking adults.

The transition statement should supplement a wide range of strategies educators use, in partnership with families and children, to support the transition process. Transitions should be thoughtfully planned and respond to each child’s unique strengths, interests and skills. Successful transitions require collaboration, so that all involved feel a part of the process, and that they belong in the school.