During early childhood, children make a number of transitions. In addition to starting at ECE and moving from ECE to school, children also undergo transitions within ECE, such as the transition from one group, room or carer to another. Children may also shift from one ECE setting to another as the result of moving house or for other reasons.
Research indicates that the success of any major transition in the early years of life has a positive correlation with the success of other transitions people experience throughout their lives. Starting school is as significant to children as many other major life events. In terms of meaningful lifetime transitions, starting school is on a par with the likes of the birth of a sibling, moving to a new house, the separation of parents, or even the loss of a loved one.
A number of studies have established the importance of transitions in young children’s lives as well as the key factors that contribute to positive and successful transitions. It is particularly important to attend to children’s social emotional competence and readiness for transitions, and to build their resilience by retaining an element of challenge and uncertainty in any transition.
Transitions should be thought of as a process that takes place over several months rather than as a single event. The evidence on positive transitions indicates that they rely on close collaboration and communication between the graduating and the receiving school or centre, and among children, teachers and families. It is important to pay careful attention to the practical steps involved in the transition process as well as the academic and social emotional challenges they create for children.
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