Transition to school is an active process of continuity and change as children move into the first year of school. 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 when educators recognise this sense of belonging.
Effective transition programs establish positive relationships between the children, parents and educators. Families need to feel connected to the school including the teacher, principal and support staff. Building specific connections between schools and other prior-to-school educators and community members and organisations as part of a transition program, helps build open communication and trust between the school and their community.
Orientation and transition programs
Orientation programs help parents and students to become familiar with the school setting. They can include tours of the school as well as meeting key people (principal/class teacher), and spending time in the new classroom.
Transition programs tend to be longer term. They may be developed to meet the needs of individual families and children, and can include weekly sessions within a playgroup setting providing opportunities for educators, children and parents to get to know each other. Parents can find out about how they can become more involved in supporting their child's learning, while teachers can observe their new students and gather information on their social and cognitive skills in a more relaxed setting.