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Insight: How primary schools can help parents through the transition to school

One of the most important factors in a positive and successful transition is ensuring a good level of communication between children, families, ECE settings and primary schools. There are a number of practical ways that primary schools and teachers can help parents support their children through the transition to school process: 

  • Invest time in building strong, trusting relationships with new children and their whānau 
  • Be available to discuss the child’s social and emotional readiness for school 
  • Reassure parents that their child does not need to attain a particular level of academic readiness for school 
  • Allow plenty of time for the process – some children take longer than others to prepare for and adjust to change 
  • Allow parents and children to attend as many before-school visits as are necessary until they feel comfortable 
  • Encourage parents and children to ask plenty of questions during before-school visits 
  • Allow for cohort entry at the start of a term or group entry, where two or more children from the same ECE setting start school on the same day 
  • Encourage parents to try not to make the transition process too easy for children – a manageable amount of challenge and uncertainty helps children build their resilience 
  • Where the child has known special educational needs, arrange a meeting of all stakeholders, including teachers from the ECE setting 
  • Be prepared to visit the child’s ECE setting to create connections between learning environments 
  • Encourage children to bring their portfolios when they attend before-school visits or when they start school so they can share their learning with their new teacher 
  • Offer parents some guidance on how to monitor how well their child is adjusting to school