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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 59 Winter 2015
19 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • WINTER 2015 - ISSUE 59 SITION TO SCHOOL H DISABILITIES Emma Pierce Project Officer Early Childhood Intervention Australia (NSW Chapter) How can you, as an ECEC professional, support families with transition to school? • Start conversations with families about transition to school by the child's 3rd birthday. • Identify how the ECEC setting can support any goals in a child's Individualised Family Service Plan (IFSP) in relation to transition to school. • Link the family with accurate information to support their child's transition to school. • Offer to be part of the family’s transition support team. • Attend transition to school meetings if asked by the family. • Support effective communication between all members of the child's transition to school team. • Invite school staff to meet and observe the child in their ECEC setting prior to the end of the school year. "The strong collaboration with different agencies is essential. We work very closely on family priorities with our local Early Childhood Intervention service and we also aim to develop connections with local schools." Preschool Director. Here are some practice examples which may prompt reflections on your own experiences: Jamie has always arrived at child care needing lots of emotional support and comfort. He seemed anxious about what was happening next and would often stand at the gate watching for his Dad. Staff worked with Jamie's family and the Inclusion Support Facilitator to determine what might help make this transition smoother for Jamie. The centre have now set up a photo board to show the main routine events in a day at our centre. Some kids call this the "day clock" and many other children refer to it at various times throughout the day. The previous example highlights inclusive practices which support all children's participation in an early childhood setting. By supporting transitions within the children's day using visual supports, this can help increase confidence and decrease anxiety for children and their families. Building on this success, these same strategies can be shared with the new school and adapted to support a child's transition to school. Jai has been attending the same long day care centre since he was 6 months old. His development across all areas has been delayed since birth. He is about to turn 4 and his parents have expressed concerns about how he will cope with starting school next year. The family are considering moving him to a preschool as they are worried that he isn't being prepared for school enough. Centre staff have noticed that Jai has made some positive gains in increasing his independence and interacting with other children and is now participating in all aspects of the programme with limited support from staff. Staff identify that they need to find a way to share the ways that their programme helps prepare children for school, the progress that Jai is making and how this will assist Jai when he starts school, to help the family make an informed decision about whether or not to move him to another centre. This example emphasises some common questions asked by families about child care placements for their child in the lead up to school. The importance of the relationship and communication between staff and families is highlighted here. There is a need to share priorities, goals, and progress and to ensure that families can access the information they want and need about their child's learning and development in ECEC in order to support families with their goals for their child as they approach school starting age. The following link offers additional practice examples which relate to specific relevant Quality Standards http://www.ecia-nsw.org.au/tts-content/eylf-and-qf/ the-quality-framework-and-the-transition-to-school. References: Brofenbrenner U., & Morris, P. A. 2006, The bio-ecological model of human development. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 1: Theoretical models of human development, 6th edn, John Wiley: New York: pp. 793-828. Chadwick, D., & Kemp, C. 2002, Critical factors of successful transition to mainstream kindergarten for children with disabilities, Australasian Journal of Special Education, vol. 26, nos. 1&2, pp. 48-66. Dockett, S, Perry, B, Kearney, E, Hampshire, A, Mason, J, & Schmeid, V. 2011, Facilitating Children's Transition to School from Families with Complex Support Needs, Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education, Charles Sturt University. Kagan, S. L., & Rigby, D. E. 2003, Improving the readiness of children for school: Recommendations for state policy. Washington, DC: Centre for the Study of Social Policy. ECEC Educator
Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015
Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015