The seventh blog post in the Practices series looks at Continuity of learning and transitions. Here are 5 tips to help with this practice …
- Work in partnership with families: The closer you can work with the families the more of an understanding you can gather on how children learn within the context of the home environment, including any cultural considerations. This can help support the transition of children in to the service with practices they are used to from home which will help children feel a sense of belonging and build secure and trusting attachments. Utilise your enrolment forms and orientation period to get to know valuable information that can be incorporated into the curriculum and routines beyond the child’s favourite toy.
- Work in partnership with support agencies: Many children access different support agencies for example therapists, medical professionals or cultural support groups. Taking the time to build a professional relationship with these services/agencies can ensure that there is a consistent approach to the child’s learning and development as they transition between the different services. This can allow the child to feel more confident and avoid frustration or confusion, as well as help the families feel like there is a holistic approach to their child’s care and education as the different organisations work together to support the child’s needs.
- Reflect on how and why children transition between rooms in the service: There are many reasons children move up rooms in a service, sometimes it is because the child is ready and capable to transition, sometimes it is because the parents demand it, sometimes it is because of a child’s age, and sometimes it is because of a business decision to get more spots in rooms that make more income for the service. Reflect on the reasons for moving children up in your service and whether the child’s needs are a key driving factor. Also it is important to consider how children are moved up between rooms. Do they have time to transition slowly over a few weeks? Do the staff in the new room get a discussion about the child and what it is important for them to know? Do families fill in new forms with new updated information to support the home/service continuity that may have changed since enrolment?
- Utilise learning opportunities that can support transitions: An easy way to support positive transitions and enhance children’s continuity of learning is to consider the types of resources, environments and curriculum decisions in each of the rooms and where there are opportunities for consistency. If the aspects of each room are vastly different then children have to spend time familiarising themselves with new routines, expectations and resources. Resources such as loose parts can be modified to reflect the age while remaining a constant between all rooms. The way in which transitions occur, educators engage with children and children have agency can also be examples of consistency between rooms.
- Get to know your local schools: One of the biggest transitions in a child’s life is the transition to school. This can be supported by building connections with local schools and finding out –
a) their expectations around school readiness (as it may be very different to what you are working on);
b) whether you can share in any aspects of the school (events, fundraisers, band practice etc.);
c) whether you can access a school’s facilities such as a library to borrow books, the play equipment during the school holidays to help children feel confident and less likely to injure themselves; and
d) what time recess and lunch occur (as they are often very different to childcare centre times which revolve around kitchen schedules and getting the cook home on time, and this can leave children hungry and struggling to concentrate when they get to school).
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