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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 59 Winter 2015
18 SUPPORTING TRAN FOR CHILDREN WIT Starting school is a major milestone for all children and families. When a child has a disability, transition to school requires additional time, planning and collaboration. Early childhood education and care and out of school hours care professionals can play important roles in the transition to school process for children with additional needs. What makes transition to school successful for children with disabilities? In the past there was a greater emphasis on "school readiness skills" and preparing each child for school. More recent thinking about the transition to school recognises that school readiness does not reside solely in the child, but reflects the environments in which children find themselves (Kagan & Rigby, 2003, p.13). The most supportive and smooth transition to school process happens when a community-wide or ecological approach is used, where everyone involved in a child's life work in partnership (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006). A source of practical information for families and professionals is the Early Childhood Intervention Australia (NSW) Transition to School Resource website www.transitiontoschoolresource.org.au. A specific "ready services" section of the resource is linked with the EYLF and Quality Standards to support early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in their roles, and the "ready communities " section of the website provides strategies and information relevant to Out of School Hours Care professionals. While the Transition to School Resource has been developed in response to a literature review and extensive consultation with families, service providers and school staff across NSW, the majority of information in the resource is applicable nationally. How can Early Childhood Education and Care professionals support a child's transition to school? As an ECE professional, you: • play an essential role in the transition to school for young children with disabilities; • develop trusting relationships with children and their families over a number of years, often during the critical early childhood period when families are adapting and adjusting to their child's disability; • have strong knowledge and experience of child development and the types of skills and behaviours which impact on children's functioning and independence; • observe and relate to young children in a group context, and are uniquely placed to support children with developing social interaction skills, practicing and generalising self-help skills and learning to regulate emotions and behaviour.
Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015
Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015