Setting children up for success as they move off to school
Getting ready to move from the world of early childhood education and care (ECEC) to school is a momentous moment in the life of a child and family.
Taking the time to set children up for success with measures which build the foundation and confidence they need to thrive is a priority for the team at Goodstart Bathurst, who use a range of practices to ensure every child is prepared for this important transition, including the Transition to School Digital Statement, visits for the preschoolers to their chosen school, and engaging families, local schools and professionals through a school readiness program. The service also uses a play-based learning program called the ‘Big School Shed’.
Centre Director Emma Kentwell recently shared some information about what School Readiness looks like for her team, an extract of which appears below.
“Children’s voices lead our ‘Big School Shed’ program, which incorporates their conceptual knowledge of ‘big school’ and follows an interest-based curriculum,” she explained.
“We use an external space and transform it into a small group learning area to promote sustained, shared thinking with peers and key educators.”
“We ask the children what they would like to learn more about so they can continue to evolve together as passionate learners. Numbers, letters, writing and drawing were a few suggestions from children this year.”
Making sure families are included, and that local schools are involved in the program is another important element of school readiness for the Goodstart Bathurst team.
The service invites local schools to speak to families, encourages families to connect with any questions, and provides information and support.
The team is passionate about ensuring children who attend their service develop a lifelong love for learning. As part of their assessment and planning cycle, the service’s transition to school programs are ever evolving to suit each child and their surrounding community.
Ms Kentwell offers the following practical tips for services to support a positive transition to school:
- Utilise the Transition to School Digital Statement to document important information about children in the year before Kindergarten to help schools set children up for success.
- Build connections with schools in your area, identify ways to get involved with the community and work together to best support transitions for children and their families.
- Read stories about starting school.
- Inviting school students to visit the service and talk about what school is like.
- Including school props such as uniforms, bags, lunch boxes in dramatic play areas.
- Support children to develop their self-help and social skills through routine activities such as mealtimes.
- Provide a variety of literacy items such as reading and writing materials.
- Engage with families to understand how your service can support them.
The Transition to School Digital Statement, a creation of the NSW Department of Education, documents a child’s strengths, interests and approaches to learning and is an important tool that supports early learners making a positive transition to primary school.
These statements, created by the early learning setting, allow school teachers to access important information about a child, how they learn, and how schools can support them to be successful.
Much of the transition to school learning spoken about by Ms Kentwell is captured in the statement.