NSW Department offers practical tips on adapting transition to school practice
The Sector > Practice > NSW Department offers practical tips on adapting transition to school practice

NSW Department offers practical tips on adapting transition to school practice

by Freya Lucas

February 09, 2023

The way in which children transition from early childhood education and care (ECEC) into the more formal school-based settings can impact on their wellbeing, and on the transmission of important information from the early learning setting to the teachers at school. 


To support ECEC services to manage this important change, the New South Wales Department of Education has issued the following practical tips on adapting standard transition practices to ensure they are consistent with best practice. 


  1. Connect with schools within local transition networks


Transition networks primarily function so that early childhood educators, schools, outside school hours care (OSHC) services, and other interested parties can share information and support continuity of learning. 


The Department has asked services to consider what networks and connections already exist and where the gaps are.


Useful activities to try:


    • Questions to ask local schools:


  • Is there a school-level transition planning team in place?
  • Are there contextual videos of the classroom environment that you can share with children and families?
  • When do you prefer receiving Transition to School statements? Let’s develop a community-level transition timeline.
  • What virtual or in person orientation activities can we plan together?


  • Share information with families


    • This could include: social stories, staff photos, activities, photos of the local school environment
    • Offer information in community languages to support inclusion. 


  • Build a positive relationship with the school’s onsite or local OSHC


    • This will help the transition for children and families who need access to education and care beyond school hours
    • Consider having a virtual online visit with the OSHC, asking if they have any orientation materials to share.


Further resources to support: 



  1. Explore new ways of engaging families


COVID-19 will likely continue to impact how ECEC services are able to interact with families. 


Here are some ideas to continue interacting with families when face-to-face contact is limited:



  • Share Transition to School Statements with families
    • Transition to School Statements can be used as a starting point to discuss intentional teaching strategies to support children transition to school.


  • Engage families through different online mediums
    • This could be your website, social media, newsletters or emails. Let them know about any online local community transition events.


The following resources can be used to share with families:



Engaging families with children with additional learning and support needs


Early and careful transition planning is critical for ensuring that children with additional learning and support needs are prepared to start school. Best practice involves collaborative planning between services, families and the involvement of early intervention professionals. It also involves the gradual preparation of children and families and ongoing communication between staff from early childhood education and school settings.


Inclusive learning support hub


Families and carers who have children with disability or additional learning and support needs may like to access the new online Inclusive Learning Support Hub where they can easily find up-to-date information about how to access support.


  1. Complete and share Transition to School Statements


It is important that ECEC educators and teachers complete a Transition to School Statement for every child transitioning to school to support continuity of learning.


The statement:


  • Summarises a child’s strengths, interests and approaches to learning
  • Passes this information between families, early childhood educators and teachers and Kindergarten teachers
  • Gives children a voice in the process of meeting new people in the school environment
  • Helps link the Early Years Learning Framework to the Early Stage 1 Syllabus. The Transition to School Statement is an important opportunity to share what you know about a child’s learning and development and outline intentional teaching strategies to their Kindergarten teacher next year.


Making the Transition to School statement more successful


In ‘Section 1: About the child’, ECEC services may want to:


  • Include information about the ECEC service’s context, such as any impact of COVID-19 on planned transition activities and support, in the comment box at the end of the section
  • Summarise the child’s attendance through on-site or learning from home programs in the ‘Average enrolled days per fortnight’ comment box.


In ‘Section 2: Feelings about school’, ECEC services may want to include:


  • Whether the child has been oriented to their school or what information the child would like to know about their new school
  • Any information about the child’s friendships


In ‘Section 3: Child’s learning and development’, ECEC services may want to:


  • Have conversations with parents and carers to help them complete the ‘intentional teaching strategies used’ comment box.


This may include:


  • asking about sleep and energy patterns
  • how the child usually shows anxiety or distress
  • what strategies help their child to soothe and comfort themselves.


The Guide to completing the Transition to School Statement can offer further insights. 


What do high-quality transition practices look like?


Transition is the collective responsibility of families, ECEC services, schools and communities. High-quality practice involves strong relationships and collaborative planning between all stakeholders.


Early childhood teachers and educators play a key role in bringing everyone together to establish transition practices that best meet the needs of each individual child.


High-quality transitions incorporate the following key principles (adapted from Dockett, S. & Perry, B. (2014). Continuity of Learning: A resource to support effective transition to school and school age care. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Department of Education):


  1. Respect for diversity and equity


Recognition of diversity at the individual child, family and community level underpins effective transitions. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant there have been significant changes in children’s lives. High-quality programs consider the different impacts and implications for children, and tailor practices to the child’s individual needs.


Early childhood professionals:


  • Recognise that all children are individuals and their transition path will be unique
  • Hold high expectations and recognise the strengths of each child, their interests and their culture
  • Build on these strengths, interests and cultures in meaningful ways.


2. Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships


Relationships are the core of successful transitions. As children transition to school, relationships change and need to be supported.


Early childhood professionals:


  • Work closely with families, schools and communities and invest in reciprocal relationships
  • Develop relationships and build shared understandings based on mutual respect, familiarity and empathy to help orient children to the school environment.


  1. Continuity of learning


Continuity of learning is providing children with the opportunity to build on, apply, transfer and adapt their learning in a new context.


Early childhood professionals:


  • Find out as much information as possible about what children know and can do, their development and dispositions
  • Transfer this information to schools and wider transition networks through the Transition to School Statement and other information sharing tools
  • Reach out to the outside school hours care (OSHC) service to help children access continuous care beyond the classroom (if the school has an OSHC service).


  1. Planning, reflection and evaluation


All transition journeys are different, and this provides opportunities to learn from the perspectives and practices of others.


Early childhood professionals:


  • Establish regular meetings and pedagogical conversations about transition and acknowledge child and family reflections
  • Reflect on assumptions around transition and evaluate their practices.


To access this information in its original form, please see here

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