In many countries children do not start their primary education before the age of six. However, in Ireland, nearly 40% of 4-year-olds and almost all 5-year-olds attend primary school. This places a huge emphasis on the area of secure and effective transitions due to the difference in both the age range and developmental levels of children. The fact that pre-schools and schools do not always work as a streamlined entity, makes transitions an area that deserves special attention.
Transitions to a new education setting involve changes for children and families and can impact the entire family. For both children and families, transitions between settings can lead to great excitement and new possibilities. Transitions can also bring on uncertainty and concerns.
Children may experience loss of familiar people and predictable routines. Families may have mixed reactions to their child getting older and wonder if they are ready for the next stage. Early childhood professionals can offer support and guidance to help families feel secure and ready to make the move to a new setting.
Both Aistear and Síolta remind us of the important contribution that educators and early childhood services can make in both reassuring parents and supporting children to cope with change. Essential to this is helping children develop certain positive dispositions and skills. These include language, communication and social skills as well as positive learning dispositions like independence, curiosity and resilience.
As June approaches, educators begin thinking about compiling transition reports for children moving to primary school. It is important that reports are accurate and strengths based.
Why not avail of a Meantóir support to help you with this process?
1. MOSAIC Educator is set up to make recording transition reports as easy as possible. MOSAIC’s transition templates are offered in both narrative and multiple choice options and are pre-loaded with Aistear aims and goals for easy recording. The pre-school to school transition reports is sent directly to parents. See www.mosaicelc.ie
2. The ENABLING TRANSITION online CPD programme gives educators practical ideas for planning and managing transitions from pre-school to primary school including sample transition report examples. See www.earlyedcpd.ie
3. STRENGTH BASED WRITING focuses on writing learning stories, observations and completing reports using a strength-based approach. Practical examples of strength-based writing are included. See www.earlyedcpd.ie
4. KNOWLEDGE BYTES can be found in the e-Library section of the Meantóir website. Bite sized topics cover a wide range of themes including transition. See www.meantoir.ie
5. ZOOM Mentoring Sessions CPD sessions can be followed up with a team mentoring session via ZOOM to further critique your practice and provide additional support around any area of pedagogical practice required. Email us at [email protected]
Avril McMonagle is Lead Consultant with Meantóir Professional Supports for Early Education, based in Donegal, Ireland www.meantoir.ie