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Moving in, moving up, moving on.. Transitions in the Early Years Chris Merrick

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Presentation on theme: "Moving in, moving up, moving on.. Transitions in the Early Years Chris Merrick"— Presentation transcript:

1 Moving in, moving up, moving on.. Transitions in the Early Years Chris Merrick

2 What do you remember about starting school? Starting a new role? Starting in a new country? Starting a new relationship? Talk to the person next to you

3 What changes did these experiences involve? What supported you in coping with these changes? Managing early transitions well builds the capacity for resilience that sustains us through changes right through our lives.

4 The big education transitions before seven Home to nursery/preschool Into Pre K or K Into KS1/Grade 1 Between schools The little everyday transitions Separation Between activities Between classes/rooms/teachers Inside/outside

5 Bronfenbrenner Links between the systems: each setting a child encounters, home or away is a microsystem, the most important contribution to a child’s well being are the links between the microsystems ‘The developmental potential of a setting is increased as a function of supportive links existing between the setting and other settings’ Bronfenbrenner 1979 ‘The Ecology of Human Development’

6 The impact of transition ‘The early sorting and categorizing of children that takes place in kindergarten establishes trajectories that persist throughout the school career.’ An American national survey of 3595 kindergarten teachers in 2000 found that they considered only around 50% of their children made a successful transition to school. Berlin et al (2011): Enhancing the transition to kindergarten, Early Childhood Research Quarterly Berlin et al. suggest that what’s needed are ‘proactive, personalized and intensive practices’.

7 Being ready? What do we mean by ‘being ready for school’? Share your thoughts, what are your priorities? Are they different for Pre- school, K, G1?

8 ‘Children need to be agents in their own transitions rather than undermined by change’ Dunlop and Fabian, (2002), Transitions in the early years: debating continuity and progression in early education.

9 Moving in…Bridging cultures Home culture to the culture of the setting; Language and relationships; Values; Beliefs about learning;

10 Danny is just three years old, a summer birthday. He is an only child, and has never been away from mum. Living in a foreign country, she has always spent a great deal of time playing with him, talking to him and giving him the attention a small child demands. His experience with other children has been limited but mum feels it is time for him to start Pre-school. He is to join an English speaking setting in September but his first and only language is Polish. What are the transition issues that need addressing for Danny and his mum ?

11 ‘ If the culture of the teacher is to become part of the consciousness of the child, then the culture of the child must become part of the consciousness of the teacher’ Bernstein 1970, ‘Education cannot compensate for society’ New Society

12 Preparing for change How do all the people involved work together to manage transitions successfully? How do we create continuity as children cross the boundaries from one environment to another? How do we make it an opportunity for growth rather than a disempowering, intimidating experience? How do we make it a process rather than event?

13 Practical ideas Information sharing ◦ Website - photos, policies, curriculum documents, philosophies, ◦ Welcome booklets - By the Children, for the Children; ◦ Personal information – All about me books in home languages

14 We can see the lake with lots of boats from the playground. The boats have sails that blow in the wind and other boats have motors. Sailboats on the lake Across the lake we can see houses and mountains. There is a boat place just down from the school, where the big ferry boat comes to get people. There are stones by the water, and paths that go along the lake. I like that we have a lake because we can feed the ducks bread. The water sounds like fish swimming under water.

15 Developing familiarity with new people and places ◦ Visits: stay and play sessions; familiarization visits for parents (to new buildings) ◦ Events – formal and informal: new parent meetings, picnics, Share your ideas

16 Danny has been in school for a year. He enjoys the outdoor area, likes to dig in the sandpit, climb on the climbing frame and loves to play football or build brick towers with some of the other children. He comes to school confidently. He manages his own belongings and sees to his own needs. He speaks a little English though in group times he watches the interactions but makes no attempt to join in. He likes to look at books if they have pictures of trucks and trains but during group story time he is easily distracted. He rarely approaches the writing or painting area unless encouraged to do so by an adult and it is clear that he would rather be riding bikes. Danny is due to go into the four year olds class where the teacher feels that preparation for reading and writing are her main priority. Mum is worried about the formality of this and how Danny will cope. Moving up...

17 ◦ Systems ◦ Expectations ◦ Space and time; ◦ People ◦ Information Continuity and consistency

18 Moving on…. Moving to another part of the country or a new country is common. How do you manage this? Rituals Connections Capturing the memories

19 ‘The overall experience of transition rests neither with the characteristics of the child, nor of the environment, but in the successive interactions between the two’ (Peters, 2004, Crossing the Border, an interpretive study of children making the transition to school, unpublished PhD thesis. University of Waikato)

20 Thank you! Chris Merrick


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