The transition to school is so important and so many kids take to the change like ducks to water while others struggle with it a little bit. The change can be overwhelming, especially if children have been in childcare from a very early age.
For this reason, it's important to have a strong transition to school program that not only looks at the A, B, Cs and the 1, 2, and 3s but looks at the social and emotional development of the children too.
Rachel from Explore and Develop, Parramatta says that it's important to teach children social responsibility and self-help skills as part of early childhood education.
“Pre-school programs or transitioning to school is not only about the literacy programs, but we also always cater for the emotional development of children. We teach how to express their emotions and how to build self-resilience and autonomy in a primary school setting.”
Starting the transition conversation
It's good to be organised and to start preparing your child for the changes that are upcoming. Talking about your child's transition openly and getting them excited is really important so they don't fear the change but embrace it.
Irene and her staff from Explore and Develop, say they take a more personal approach to the school transition.
“We start talking about big schools generally the year before they are enrolled, so anywhere from 3.5 years to 5 years old, depending on the family's decision on when to send the child to school.
Another wonderful way to introduce children to the idea of transitioning to a big school is through reading. There are so many helpful books around that will help to initiate the conversation and get kids thinking about their anxieties around the topic. The more they're talked about, the easier it becomes for them to adapt to the school environment.
Not sure where to start, you could try books like:
- Starting School By: Jane Godwin, Anna Walker
- Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen & Sandie Sonke
- Going to Big School by Laura Sieveking
Having a chat with the team at Explore and Develop it was evident that they take the transition stages very seriously. So much so, they have implemented a program called Worry Woo's to help children with the anxieties around transitioning to big school and the curiosities of other children who may be on their way in the following year.
“Most of the children in the 3-5 classroom are aware of the transition to big school in one way or another. They see our school readiness group doing their daily activities, and most parents like to encourage their children to come to ‘pre-school' to get ready for big school. They'll tell them that the Possum and Wombat room is helping them get ready for big school which excites them.”
Back to Basics
As Irene mentions, early childhood services may have changed a lot in the seventeen years Explore and Develop have been operating, what hasn't changed are the foundations. Specialised care and the best quality education are essential for your child's learning and what sets kids up for a wonderful future.
A special thanks to the team of early childhood professionals and children at EAD, Parramatta for allowing us to pop into the centre and have a chat. If you're in the area and looking for top-quality childcare, enquire with Irene and her team of professionals today.