School Readiness and Transition to School

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School readiness
and transition to school
By Sonja Tansey

Starting school can be an exciting, though often anxious experience for young children and their families. When children move from a familiar child care environment, with established relationships and routines, a larger more structured school setting can be overwhelming even for very confident children. Child care services play an important role in preparing children and families for school and easing their transition from child care to the school setting.

The value of effective school readiness and
transition
Positive early school experiences through sound
preparation and smooth transitions create good
short and long term outcomes for children.
Effective school readiness experiences and
transition programs help child care professionals
and families to identify when individual children
are ready for school and to prepare them with the
skills and qualities they need for a fruitful school
experience. Constructive school readiness and
transition experiences also create links between the
service, families and schools.

Foundations for success at school
Child care services are ideal environments for
children to develop the qualities needed to
succeed in all areas of life, including school. Child
care services do not need to turn into school
environments to prepare children for school.
Supporting children’s school readiness is about
assisting them to develop their skills in areas
such as literacy, numeracy and self-care when
they are ready for this, and at their own pace.
Children’s social competence is at the core of
their readiness for school and effective school
transitions. Social skills such as sharing, turn taking
and playing well with other children are essential in
assisting children’s short and long term success at
school. Responsive, positive relationships between
children and their carers are also crucial in building
children’s self-esteem and resilience which further
assist them to make effective transitions from early
childhood settings to school environments.

Helping families to decide when their child
is ready for school
Many families rely on feedback from child care
professionals to help them make decisions about
their child’s readiness for school. By providing
clear information and discussing the issues that
relate to each child’s school readiness, child care
professionals can help families to understand
the factors other than the child’s age that
are important foundations for school. Ongoing
observations of individual children by child care
professionals will provide invaluable insights for
families making decisions about their child’s school
readiness.
When considering a child’s readiness for school,
families should be encouraged to make decisions
based on their child’s skills, needs and interests.
This will help families to decide when their child
is best placed to begin school. Communicating
with families about the benefits of child care in
preparing children in all areas of their development


State and territory governments have varying legal requirements

for the maximum and minimum age of children commencing
school. Families can be directed to the department of education website in their state or territory for information about the compulsory school age.

QIAS - Factsheet # 13

Child care services are well placed to contribute
to the foundations for children’s long and short
term success at school. By supporting all areas of
children’s development and focusing on building
strong, responsive relationships with young children,
services provide children with the skills and
confidence to continue along a path of life-long
learning.

can reassure families that their child’s participation
in the child care program is an important aspect of
preparation for school.
Families may believe that children require some
reading and writing skills to be ready for school....
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