Transition in Early Years

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There are many issues that cause life stress to children and their families e.g. bereavement, separation /divorce, long-term illnesses. This report will employ a holistic approach, incorporating life span development, and will focus on transition within early year’s education. It will assist practitioners in supporting children and their families and will focus on the effect it has on their lives.

Report Summary
Transition within early years education is a major life event that a child and family go through together. Currently, educational transition is defined as the process of change that children make from one place or phase of education to overtime, Fabian and Dunlop (2002). Starting school is a huge step in a child’s life. For some it is a natural and seamless progression, for others a major upheaval, Hamilton et al (2003). Regardless of the process, this change requires children to cope with a re-organisation of their identity and status as they move from pre-school/home to becoming a school child. Fthenkis (1998, pg. 11) maintains that substantial changes such as this “…can induce psychological changes”. The issue for children is how they will cope with such changes and discontinuities as they start school and how they might employ strategies for dealing with such changes. Ghaye and Pascal (1998, pg. 3) state that starting school in the U.K is making “…a range of potentially stressful demands”.

About Transition
Practitioners working with this life event can work with the child and parents to minimise stress levels. Therefore, it is important for practitioners to endorse a holistic approach. The ultimate aim is to understand the child’s developmental needs within the context of the family, and to provide appropriate services that respond to these needs. Freedom in education (2007) declares Rudolf Steiner, a famous philosopher, based his own education on a holistic approach. He firmly believed in “… [Educating] the whole child”. According to the EYFS (2007) every child is a “unique child and inclusive practice should be valued”. Barnes, (1991, pg. 54) is in favour of Steiner’s

Education, “when the Waldorf curriculum is carried through successfully, the whole human being-head, heart and hand has truly been educated”.

Practitioners can influence a child’s life span development by employing a variety of systems for inductions e.g. single visits, talks to parents in an afternoon/evening, home visit, parents staying with their child on the first few days. Another strategy would be a staggered start before or after other children have begun on the first day. (Whalley, 2001). However, it might be the individuals whom they start with, rather than the induction system that is the key factor in helping children and their parent’s .e.g. a child could start with a friend, neighbour or cousin. Margett (2002, pg. 112) found that children who commenced school with a playmate “…had high levels of social and academic competence and less problem behaviours than other children”. Ladd and Price (1987) professed this thought.

A range of writings (Fabian & Dulop, 2002 ; Dunlop & Fabian, 2003) propose that the way in which transition is experienced not only creates a difference to children in the early months of a new situation but also contains a longer term impact, because the context to which they feel successful in the first transition is likely to influence subsequent experiences.

Life Span Development
According to Brofenbrenner, (1979) a child’s life span development could change from cradle to grave depending on environmental conditions which a child experiences (handout wk 3). For example a child may have a smooth transition from home to school but later in adolescence the transition from college to university can be effected by the Macrosystem. Thus the burden of tuition fees can inflict anxiety upon the individual (see appendix). Goleman, (1996) believed that children need to feel socially secure and...
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