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Towards Effective Preschool to Primary School Transitions Dr Divya Jindal-Snape University of Dundee.

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Presentation on theme: "Towards Effective Preschool to Primary School Transitions Dr Divya Jindal-Snape University of Dundee."— Presentation transcript:

1 Towards Effective Preschool to Primary School Transitions Dr Divya Jindal-Snape University of Dundee

2 Overview Educational Transitions- Conceptualisation Scottish Case Study Theoretical perspectives (Resilience, Self- Esteem, Emotional Intelligence) Examples of good transition practice across the world and some suggestions Discussion questions

3 What is educational transition? Moving from one context and set of interpersonal relationships to another

4 Transition can be: Satisfying and fulfilling Opportunity to ‘move on’ and ‘move up’ with increased choices

5 Challenging and stressful Transition can be:

6 Conceptualisation* One off event/Ongoing process Horizontal/Vertical Ready children/Ready Educational Institutions Clean slate/Virtual backpacks** Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological systems theory Effect on child-young person/ family/ practitioners * From Jindal-Snape, D. (Editor) (forthcoming in December 2009). Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1992). Ecological systems theory. In R. Vasta (Ed.), Six theories of child development (pp. 187–249). London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

7 One off event/Ongoing process One off event- research focuses on meeting the teachers prior to transition, school visits, induction Ongoing process- research focuses on the constant adaptation and negotiation

8 Horizontal/Vertical* *Pietarinen, J., Soini, T., & PyhaltoY, K. (forthcoming). Learning and Well-Being in Transitions: How to Promote Pupils’ Active Learning Agency? In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

9 Ready children/Ready Educational Institutions Maturational v/s Interactionist Approach Vernon-Feagans and colleagues (2008) provide a way to conceptualize readiness which puts the definition of readiness, not within the child but at the “interaction and fit between the child and his/her family and the ‘readiness’ of the classroom/school to teach that child” (p. 63). *Vernon-Feagans, L., Odom, E., Panscofar, N., & Kainz, K. (2008). Comments on Farkas and Hibel: A transactional/ecological model of readiness and inequality.In A. Booth & A. C. Crouter (Eds.), Disparities in school readiness (pp. 61–78).New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

10 Clean slate/Virtual backpacks Clean slates- start afresh approach Opening their ‘virtual backpacks’ in the school setting* *Peters, S. (forthcoming). Shifting the Lens: Re-Framing the View of Learners and Learning During the Transition From Early Childhood Education to School in New Zealand. In D. Jindal- Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

11 Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory Adapted by Fabian & Dunlop, 2002, 151 Fabian, H., & Dunlop, A. W. A. (Eds.) (2002). Transitions in the Early Years. Debating continuity and progression for children in early education. London: Routledge Falmer.

12 Effect on child-young person/ family/ practitioners Transition has an impact not only on the child/young person but also his/her family –Families experience joys and anxieties during their child’s transitions –They should also be provided support to deal with the transition themselves to be actively involved in making the transition smooth for the child.

13 Effect on child-young person/ family/ practitioners Professionals play an important role in supporting children and parents during transitions However, it is possible that their own needs, especially training needs, have not been identified

14 The community can also play a significant part in transitions and readiness to learn

15 Issues for young children starting school Move out of an environment of autonomy into one of conformity Perceived lack of choice Lack of explanation regarding what is happening Fabian & Dunlop, 2002, 2006; Fortune-Wood, 2002 cited in Hannah, E., Gorton, H., & Jindal-Snape, D. (forthcoming 2009). Small steps: Perspectives on understanding and supporting children starting school in Scotland. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

16 Setting the scene Scottish Case Study* Rationale Several studies have explored transitions from the perspectives of the child and professionals, but less so from the perspective of parents Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory (especially, microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem and macrosystem) as applied to the child’s transition to school helps capture the multiplicity of inter-related factors which may influence transition experience * Hannah, E., Gorton, H., & Jindal-Snape, D. (forthcoming 2009). Small steps: Perspectives on understanding and supporting children starting school in Scotland. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

17 Objectives To explore parents’ views of: –their child’s experience of transition to primary school –their experience of transition –what systems/transitional activities were beneficial for them and their child, and ways of improving them

18 Methodology Case study of a Scottish Primary school –Participants- 20 P1 parents, 6 months after start of school –Questionnaire closed questions requiring agreement to statements, some factual and some related to their experience 8 open questions seeking detailed responses about their experiences made available both as a paper version and online –Analysis based on Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model

19 Results 5 reported that children faced difficulties during transition 18 said preparation from school was helpful to their child 16 said that it was helpful to them 17 happy that the school did all it could to make the move smooth, 3 were not

20 Microsystem Child-home along with their children, parents also need support to prepare for the transition this would help them in explaining transition related issues to their child need for good communication with the teachers including feedback regarding how their child was settling in; and more and timely information about the school systems, routines and procedures Parent’s view 1

21 Microsystem Child-school helping the child adjust to –a new learning environment »which includes both physical/organisational elements » relationships (adults and peers) explicitly teaching expected behaviour very important not only for a child to be familiar with the teacher but also to start forming a relationship before s/he started school school visits had been very useful (n=16) booklets provided about the school were useful, especially the ones that had photos of teachers (n=7) However- Parent’s view 2 Parent’s view 2

22 Microsystem Child-peer group Table 1: Cross-tabulation between ‘My child moved to P1 with some of her/his friends from nursery’ and ‘My child faced problems when s/he moved to P1’ My child faced problems when s/he moved to P1 Moved with friend Did not move with friend Total Yes325 No12315 Total15520 However, the comments from parents highlighted the importance of moving with friends.... on the first day the teacher understood that sitting next to your best friend was important. Parent

23 Mesosystem Home-school Good relationship between the parents and school professionals is important –ongoing accurate information –greater knowledge of schools – opportunities to discuss expectations …there is a feeling that more communication generally would be welcome. A drop-in event every month perhaps where parents can raise general issues? Parent

24 Mesosystem Pre-school-school Table 2: Cross tabulation between ‘Immediately before starting at this primary school, my child attended:’ and ‘I think there was good communication between the Nursery and the School regarding my child and his/her needs’ I think there was good communication between the Nursery and the School regarding my child and his/her needs. Feeder Nursery Private Nursery in city Other (including other city/ country) Totals Good63312 Poor1113 Don't Know1315 Totals87520

25 Exosystem Parent-Parent relationship –Supporting parents going through transitions...this is a positive aspect of school community....all the information I get was from the parent chats in the playground. It would be good if in the first few weeks of school, members of the Parent Council (or other parents) were available to and advertised at drop-off times to answer practical questions from new parents. Parents

26 Parent’s View 1 More communication on the first day so I could put my child at ease if I knew what was happening. For instance on arriving in the classroom although the teacher spoke to our child she ignored us. She didn’t introduce herself or explain what to do with coats or bags. We also were not told where to pick our children up when we came back. As parents we were left hanging around like spare parts and ruined the experience of our child’s first day at school. Back

27 Parent’s View 2 Rather than one 4 hour morning where the children visit the school - would be better if it was maybe 1 hour a week for 4 weeks prior to them starting school…Gives the children a familiarity with going to school and lets them meet their classmates on a regular basis. This could also allow out of school play dates to take place prior to school starting. Back

28 Discussion and Conclusions Beneficial aspects of the work that the school did – the school visits –booklets provided about the school, especially the ones with photos of teachers –inputs from the Head Teacher and Depute Head Teacher Suggestions from parents for effective transitions – need for good communication with the teachers including feedback regarding how child was settling in – and timely information about the school systems, routines and procedures –child practising any new procedures before using them (e.g., ordering dinner) –opportunities of informal chats with other parents and Parent Council members

29 Theoretical Perspectives

30 Resilience Resilience is “a phenomenon or process reflecting relatively positive adaptation despite experiences of adversity or trauma,” Luthar (2003, p. 6).* Cited in Jindal-Snape, D. & Miller, D.J. (forthcoming 2009). Understanding Transitions through Self-Esteem and Resilience. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

31

32 Protective processes to facilitate resilience Rutter (1987)* suggested four main protective processes which mediate risk at key life turning points to lessen the impact of risk by altering the experience of risk or exposure to the risk to decrease the number of risk factors in order to avoid an accumulation of unmanageable risks to increase self-esteem and self-efficacy, in order to provide access to opportunities such as part-time work and out of school activities, to increase confidence Cited in Jindal-Snape, D. & Miller, D.J. (forthcoming 2009). Understanding Transitions through Self-Esteem and Resilience. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

33 Resilience & Transitions Transition research suggests several such stressors for a child/young person at this time Discontinuity Change in expectations Change in organisational culture Peer relationships To minimise risk or stressors, research emphasises the importance of the internal protective factors (for example, self-esteem) external protective factors (such as positive relationships at home and school)

34 Self-esteem Clear enough idea of what we mean when we talk about self-esteem However, there is little consensus in terms of definitions, models or measures Two-dimensional model of self-esteem as an integrated sum of self-worth and self- competence (Mruk, 1999)* * Cited in Jindal-Snape D., & Miller D. J. (2008). A challenge of living? Understanding the psycho-social processes of the child during primary–secondary transition through resilience and self-esteem theories. Educational Psychology Review, 20, 217–236.

35 Self-esteem & Transitions During ‘challenges of living’ individual’s sense of worth and competence are particularly vulnerable Epstein (1979)* proposed three major experiences which can significantly affect an individual’s self-esteem –exposure to a new environment –being required to make new responses – the establishment or loss of significant relationships * Cited in Jindal-Snape, D. & Miller, D.J. (forthcoming 2009). Understanding Transitions through Self-Esteem and Resilience. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

36 Emotional Intelligence Goleman identified the five 'domains' of EI as: –Knowing your emotions –Managing your own emotions –Motivating yourself –Recognising and understanding other people's emotions –Managing relationships, i.e., managing the emotions of others

37 Emotional Intelligence It is the set of abilities that underlie competency in dealing with and acting upon emotion-relevant information (Salovey & Mayer, 1990)*. It encompasses the ability to: –perceive, appraise, and express emotion accurately and adaptively –understand emotion and emotional knowledge –use feeling to facilitate cognitive activities and adaptive action –regulate emotion in oneself and others* * Adeyemo, D.A. (forthcoming 2009). Educational Transition and Emotional Intelligence. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

38 Emotional Intelligence & Transitions School/university work and cultivation of intellectual competencies demand the ability to use and regulate emotion to facilitate thinking, enhance concentration, control impulsive behaviour, perform effectively under stress, and nurture intrinsic motivation Adjustment requires establishing meaningful relationship with people such as teachers and peers

39 Role of parents/family during the transitions and education

40 A stable and supportive family environment was considered to be very important. Some commented on how certain parents were not supporting their children which was leading to issues at school.* “…But they need a lot more support and they need their parents to be a lot more involved.” Parent “The family can have a big role. Particularly in terms of supporting the school with discipline. Some parents are good at contacting the school and saying that this has happened but others feel that because the school has a no bullying policy, they can prevent anything and everything. Some parents aren’t prepared to listen and accept that their son or daughter may not be a victim but might actually be a part of it.” Professional *Jindal-Snape, D. & Foggie, J. (2008). A holistic approach to primary-secondary transitions. Improving Schools, 11,

41 Role of parents/family during the transitions and education (continued) There was a feeling amongst some participants that if the parents had negative experiences of schooling, then it was likely that their children would feel the same way about school. “She just didn’t seem to cope at all with moving up to the ‘secondary school A’. Saying that, I was at the ‘secondary school B’ for first year and then I moved to the ‘secondary school A’ cos [because] we moved and I hated it as well so moved back to the ‘secondary school B’ for third year. So you can imagine what it’s like now.” Parent

42 Role of parents/family during the transitions and education (continued) Professionals and some parents also discussed about the parents’ attitudes towards education having an impact on their children’s attitudes towards education. They felt that if parents did not value education, it was likely that the children would not value education as well. “Some don’t bother. I mean some parents think ‘okay we’ll just get your uniform, your bag and that’s it’. They don’t say ‘right, okay, it is going to be harder, you have to try your best’ I mean ‘you can only do your best’ and the ones that do that, I mean I’m happy but it’s also…giving them a kick up the backside at times and my child needs that.” Parent “Some families are not keen to get involved. A lot of the children’s dislike for school comes from their parents. If the parents maybe don’t value education or don’t want to come up to school – there’s reluctance there.” Professional

43 Role of parents/family during the transitions and education (continued) There were some indications that parents might be having problems with dealing with transition themselves. “It is a big school, but there’s so many bigger people there. There’s so many more pupils there than there are at a primary school. I found it was like a maze myself.”Parent “…support should be offered to families. It’s about targeting the support. If there’s anxiety at home, it makes it difficult.” Professional 3

44 Examples of good transition practice across the world and some suggestions* i.Five bridges of transition and bridging units as part of local pyramids which are meaningful to children ii.Induction days, whether a day long or over several shorter sessions iii.Parental involvement -during their own child’s transition -to support other parents iv.Artifacts or portfolios from the previous educational setting to the new one -for emotional support of the individual - providing professionals an indication of the individual’s strengths/ interests v. Information packs meaningful to parents/carers and child/young person, e.g., photographs of significant others and places in the new context

45 Examples of good transition practice across the world and some suggestions (continued) vi. Sharing pedagogy across schools and other educational contexts - team teaching -sharing of ideas, practice and resources vii. Prepare and document transition plans, and review and monitor them periodically viii. Create transition teams in the district and the school for development and implementation of a systematic transition programme ix. Involving the child/young person as an active learner and participant in the transition process x. Teachers and other practitioners working with researchers to undertake action research to improve their practice related to transitions

46 Examples of good transition practice across the world and some suggestions (continued) xi. Educational transitions are in line with developmental transitions of an individual xii. Undertake staff training needs assessment in the context of transitions xiii. Should research, evaluate, and document transition programme effectiveness on an ongoing basis xiv. Using emotional intelligence intervention to facilitate effective transitions xv. Prior to transition, children/young people are involved in simulated role, drama, storytelling to provide opportunities to express their transition concerns and tackle them in a secure and familiar environment

47 Examples of good transition practice across the world and some suggestions (continued) xvi. Having named transitional professionals xvii. Information passed from one stage to another -academic attainment -personal and social factors xviii. Secure attachments opportunities - buddy system -guidance and counselling staff * From Jindal-Snape, D. (Editor) (forthcoming in December 2009). Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world. New York: Routledge.

48 Contact Details Dr Divya Jindal-Snape School of Education, Social Work and Community Education University of Dundee Nethergate Dundee DD1 4HN Scotland Tel: +44(0)


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