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education.vic.gov.au

Transition — Early Childhood to School

Policy last updated

14 December 2020

Scope

  • Schools
  • Early childhood services

Contact

Early Learning Unit Early Learning Division


Date:
March 2020

Policy

Policy

This policy sets out the role of schools in planning and managing the transition process, including Transition Learning and Development Statements, for students moving from early childhood services to school.

Details

Starting school is a big milestone for children and their families. The transition between learning environments can be both challenging and exciting. A positive start to school, leading to greater and ongoing connection with school has been identified as a factor in disrupting cycles of social and economic disadvantage, and in promoting resilience among young people.

Supporting students to successfully transition from their early childhood learning setting to the school setting requires professionals to actively foster responsive relationships with each child and their families, as well as with each other, recognising the importance of continuity and consistency while acknowledging change.

A key component of a positive transition is for schools to review the Transition Learning and Development Statement (the Transition Statement). The Transition Statement helps to connect early childhood services, schools, Outside School Hours Care services (where applicable) and families all working together to support transition into school and the continuity of learning for each child. Completed annually by early childhood teachers, the Transition Statement has been designed to assist families and educators share information and specific strategies that can support each child’s learning and development into their foundation year.

When supporting children to transition from early childhood settings to school, Victorian government schools must follow the processes outlined under the Guidance tab. The Guidance includes information on transition statements, obtaining access to online transition statements for new prep students, and working with families (including the child) as an integral part of the transition process.

The Guidance also includes information on Foundation teachers visits to kindergartens in Term 4, 2020, with specific information on managing these visits during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Definitions

Transition
For the purpose of this policy, transition is the process of supporting continuity of learning for a child moving from early childhood to school.

Contact

Early Learning Unit Early Learning Division


Guidance

Transition — Early childhood to School

This guidance outlines how schools can access and use the Transition Learning and Development Statement (TLDS) and work with families, children and other professionals to support a smooth and positive transition between early childhood and school. 

The Online TLDS, accessed via the Insight assessment platform, makes it easier for early childhood teachers to complete and share the TLDS with schools to support effective transitions. 

Information for early childhood professionals on transition between early childhood and school is available at: Moving to primary school (transitions).

This guidance contains the following chapters which you can view using the chapter menu:

  • Supporting a positive start to school in 2021
  • Foundation teacher transition visits to kindergartens — Term 4 2020
  • Transition statements — information for schools
  • Access online transition statements for new prep students
  • Working with families when children are transitioning to school

Supporting a positive start to school in 2021

Supporting a positive start to school in 2021

Key points

  • Supporting children transitioning to school in 2021 will be a key priority for primary schools.
  • A positive transition to primary school is always important but, given the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic response, schools should consider children’s learning experiences in 2020 and how they can meet the needs of their new children and families as they transition to school in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented change to Victoria’s education system. Children transitioning to school in 2021 may have a greater diversity of needs because of disruptions to their kindergarten year and the increasing number of families experiencing vulnerability. Effective transition practices and opportunities to improve and better support transition to primary school while always important, are now even more critical.

The following information supports schools to prepare for and engage with effective transition to school practice to support the transition needs of children starting school in 2021. 

Effective transition practices and supporting continuity of learning

Good relationships between children, families, early childhood educators and schools are key to positive transitions. Positive transitions occur when children feel a sense of belonging and familiarity in their new learning environment.

A child’s Transition Learning and Development Statement provides important information about their learning and development that can help the prep teacher better plan for their transition to school. Early childhood educators write the statement in Term 4, the year before school. In 2020:

  • Early childhood educators will be encouraged to include information specific to children’s learning in 2020, including attendance and participation in on-site or learning from home program time.
  • Early childhood educators will provide a child’s Transition Learning and Development Statement to their nominated school. The School’s Insight administrator should link this to the child’s school record to help prep teachers effectively support them and to ensure the statement is correctly maintained. Information on how to access Transition Learning and Development Statements through the Insight platform is available in the chapter on Transition statements — information for schools.
  • Early childhood educators, families, children and prep teachers could also benefit from conversations about a child’s statement and what their learning needs might be. These conversations could support the prep teacher to plan individual strategies that support children’s continuity of learning.

All people involved in the transition work in partnership together to support a positive transition. There are several transitions practices that support this, including:

  • Reciprocal visits between prep teachers and early childhood educators to discuss strategies and practices that can be incorporated across settings to support continuity of learning. This might include video conferencing or phone meetings this year. Refer to the chapter on Foundation teacher transition visits to kindergartens — Term 4 2020.
  • Children visiting their new school to meet their prep teacher and to become familiar with classrooms, school buildings and amenities. Preparing videos or creating social stories to share across settings could be considered as an alternative.
  • Families meeting with school leaders and teachers to learn more about the school and how the school will support their child’s transition and learning and development, this could be informally or through information days or school tours. Preparing 'meet the principal' videos, video conference meetings and virtual school tours could be considered as replacements.
  • Families receiving information about transition to school, schools can refer families to the Department’s How to choose a school and enrol website and Going to school website. Schools could consider engaging families via their website, social media, newsletters, emails or information packs.
  • Schools providing opportunities for families of new prep students to connect with each other through virtual forums or other avenues. ‘First-time’ families might find this especially helpful.
  • Schools offering buddy programs to help improve children’s adjustment and engagement with school.

In 2020, transition programs will likely need to be adapted to align with current health advice and the needs of the local community. While it will be reasonable for some transitions activities to be hosted virtually, schools should consider equitable access in preparing transition to school activities and where possible, plan for supplementary face to face activities that could occur when restrictions have been lifted.

Online professional learning for school staff will be available this year to support transition to school. This will include information on the importance of an effective transition to school and adapting existing transition programs in a time of COVID-19.

Preparing for school in 2021

Schools will need to be prepared to adapt their programs in 2021. Given COVID-19 response related disruptions, children’s learning at kindergarten in 2020 will have looked different and schools may not have as many opportunities as usual to build familiarity with children and their families transitioning to school.

It may take extra time to establish routines for schools, children and their families. It’s important that everyone involved is aware of this.

Schools can prepare to support their prep cohort and their families by:

  • developing and communicating a community-level transitions program to support community awareness of planned activities
  • identifying transition coordinators, or other recognised staff, responsible for developing and managing transition processes
  • actively engaging families early and regularly during a child’s transition to school to build their familiarity with the school setting
  • planning for each child’s transition now, to support continuity of learning in 2021.

Having a child starting school can make some families anxious and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may mean that families will need extra reassurance. It is important that families worried their child might not be ready for school know that schools welcome and support children at different stages in their growth and no matter what experiences children have had in their kindergarten year, they will have developed a range of skills and abilities that form the basis for further learning and teaching.

As there will be less opportunity for face to face communication with families, schools should think about how they can reinforce this message to families. This could include:

  • increasing your normal communications and providing FAQs
  • accessing translation services and reaching out to families, refer to Interpreting and Translation Services 
  • using a community liaison agency in your network, or parent volunteers if suitable.

Kindergartens may experience more requests from families this year for a second year of funded kindergarten. Advice to kindergartens is that requests for a second year of funded kindergarten should not be based on missed on-site or learning from home program time. A second year of funded four-year-old kindergarten should only be considered where the kindergarten program is deemed to be the most appropriate learning program and environment for the child given their developmental status, and that the child will achieve better outcomes at kindergarten than if they go to school.

It is important to remind families that schools are flexible, adaptable and responsive to children, and will be considering how they meet children’s needs in their prep year in 2021 given COVID-19 related disruptions.

In addition, schools may wish to write to their feeder ECEC services to reassure early childhood teachers and families that schools are ready for the 2021 cohort of preps. A template letter (login required) which can be adapted by each school is available for schools to use.

The start of the prep year

Despite COVID-19 disruptions in 2020, many families are engaging with kindergarten programs either on-site, through learning from home, or a mix of both. However, there will be children in the 2021 prep cohort that have not participated fully in their kindergarten year. While families have been able to access many resources to support learning from home, children will have had fewer opportunities for play-based learning with peers.

We know that play-based learning in the early school years is important to help a child’s social and emotional development and wellbeing. Children can learn and perform better when they engage in both unstructured and structured learning. Including play-based learning opportunities in the early years of school can support children’s continuity of learning through supporting them to adjust to their new school setting, and to build relationships and understanding.

Schools should consider adopting a more flexible approach in the classroom to help their prep cohorts ease into school. Some ideas and material to support this include:


Foundation teacher transition visits to kindergartens — Term 4 2020

Foundation teacher transition visits to kindergartens — Term 4 2020

Guidance on Foundation teacher visits to kindergartens to support a positive transition to school for the 2021 cohort.

The Victorian Government is providing additional funding in Term 4 to support children transitioning to school in 2021, in response to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Objectives of Foundation teacher transition visits to kindergarten settings

Good relationships between children, families and early childhood/school teachers and educators are key to positive transitions. Positive transitions occur when children feel a sense of belonging and familiarity in their new learning environment.

As many of the usual face-to-face transition activities that build these relationships may not be undertaken this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, support is being provided to enable Foundation teachers to visit children and early childhood teachers and educators at kindergarten settings.

These visits will provide an opportunity for early childhood teachers to discuss their educational program and the strategies they use to support children’s learning. It will also provide Foundation teachers with the opportunity to observe and interact with children in the kindergarten learning environment.

Children are often excited, and a bit daunted, by the experience of starting school. It is important to recognise that their expectations and experiences can impact on the success of transition-to-school programs. When children are given the opportunity to build positive relationships with Foundation teachers, they are likely to continue this positive engagement when they start school.

Providing time for children to interact with their Foundation teacher and build a relationship before starting school can reduce their anxiety and stress about starting school.

Providing opportunities for teachers across early childhood and schools to visit each other can also be a powerful way of deepening professional understanding of early childhood and school-based learning environments and practices.

Key anticipated outcomes of these visits for teachers and educators are:

  • that relationships can be built and strengthened
  • there is a deeper understanding and familiarity of each other’s programs, curriculum and philosophical frameworks
  • that methods for planning are implemented in line with best practice transition programs
  • that insight into the bigger picture for children and families is gained, including the important contribution teachers make to the long-term outcomes of children and their families
  • that ideas can be shared and solutions jointly explored during the delivery of educational programs
  • that teachers and educators can feel supported and less isolated in their work.

Approach to visits

Schools and kindergarten services will need to organise the visits to best meet the individual needs of their local community and adhere with current health advice and requirements. 

In Term 3 schools were encouraged to use a  template letter (login required) to send to early childhood services in their community to help build confidence in transition to school for the 2021 prep cohort and to encourage school enrolments.

In Term 4 all schools are encouraged to reach out to early childhood services to commence planning for Foundation teachers to visit children and early childhood teachers in kindergarten settings.

It is recognized that not all schools will know who the Foundation teacher/s for 2021 are as yet, so the emphasis needs to be on building a connection with the school by sending a member of staff that the kindergarten children will be able to recognise as a familiar face from their new school.

If you require support to identify early childhood service contacts, please liaise with your Regional Office.

When planning a visit, it may be useful to consider incorporating some of the following activities:

  • observing and interacting with children in the familiar kindergarten contexts and environments
  • discussing previous transition experiences
  • talking about different ways of working with children in general (e.g. how daily routines are supported, strategies used to assist children manage their own behaviour)
  • sharing program planning/curriculum development ideas and strategies
  • discussing opportunities to work in partnership to further support transition this year and in future years
  • discussing with children and teachers/educators the set-up of the physical environment.

Parents/carers should be notified in advance of a visit by a Foundation teacher as they are a critical partner to successful transitions. As per usual transition arrangements, sharing of information about children should be done with consideration of privacy implications.

Schools should also consider how school equity funding, alongside School Readiness Funding in early childhood services can be best utilised to support school and early childhood partnerships that support the access and inclusion of children, including through the transition period now and into the future.

Suggested activities to support children prepare for starting school:

  • ask children to draw or paint what they think school might be like, and ask children to add their explanations to these paintings or drawings and discuss what has been included and why
  • use photos of the school environment to develop story books and discussion
  • read stories about starting school and discuss the various elements and expectations raised in these
  • ask children what they would like to know about school — what are they excited about, are they worried about anything?
  • provide a range of materials in play areas to stimulate discussion about school
  • promote role plays or scenarios that relate to school.

Occupational health and safety guidance

This advice has been prepared having regard to the directions and advice issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

Given the evolving nature of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this advice is subject to change. All staff are encouraged to review the latest advice and directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer at Department of Health and Human Services — COVID-19.

Staff are encouraged to continue accessing the COVID-19 employee health safety and wellbeing supports (login required).

Specific actions to take when visiting a kindergarten setting:

  • Contact the kindergarten setting to ask what measures in relation to hygiene and physical distancing will be in place for your visit. If you are at all concerned please discuss with your principal before attending and/or seek advice from the OHS Advisory Service:
    phone 1300 074 715 or email safety@education.vic.gov.au
  • Notify the kindergarten setting of the key health and safety measures that you will be taking (for example, physical distancing, not providing service if COVID-19 symptoms are observed). Teachers are encouraged to explain that the visit will not continue if any teacher/educators or children you will interact with while onsite displays any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Foundation teachers will be required to leave the site, notify their principal and log an eduSafe Plus report (login required) if anyone they interact with while onsite displays any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Notify your Principal if you are feeling unwell and displaying COVID-19 symptoms. If so, you must postpone your kindergarten setting visit and get tested for COVID-19.
  • Ensure you carry a supply of alcohol-based hand sanitiser to be used before, during and after the visit.
  • When greeting kindergarten staff and children, do not shake hands. Maintain physical distance with other adults to the extent practical in that kindergarten setting.
  • Only touch minimal documentation and equipment onsite that is relevant for your visit. Where required to touch surfaces, avoid touching your face and wash your hands with soap for more than 20 seconds or apply alcohol-based sanitiser at regular intervals.

Face masks

As per the directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the following actions are mandatory:

  • Face masks to be worn by individuals over the age of 12 when on public transport and school buses — unless you have a lawful exemption.
  • Individuals over the age of 12 must carry a face mask at all times.
  • The same exemptions to the wearing of face masks apply in schools as when people are out in the community. This includes students who are over the age of 12 and are unable to wear a face mask due to the nature of their disability. This also includes students or staff who have a medical condition, such as problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability or a mental health condition.

Face masks are no longer required in school settings. However, they are recommended for use by staff and students when physical distancing of 1.5m cannot be maintained.

A face mask must cover the nose and mouth. Face shields, scarves or bandanas do not meet these requirements.

Face asks are no longer required in ECEC settings, but we recommend they are used by staff and visitors when physical distancing cannot be maintained. This may include communal areas such as foyers and staff rooms.

Further information is set out in the School Operations Guide (login required).

Foundation teachers should continue to refer to the Guidance for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in education settings (login required) for indications on PPE use, in addition to advice on face masks in the Schools Operation Guide.

Guidance for Foundation teachers with health and other vulnerabilities or those caring for vulnerable family members

Some Foundation teachers may be at greater risk of more serious illness if they are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
  • people 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions
  • people 70 years and older
  • people with compromised immune systems.

Where the Foundation teacher forms the view that they are not in a position to visit a kindergarten setting, they are not required to do so.

Support for schools and early childhood services

Funding will be available to all primary schools, across all sectors, to contribute to Foundation teacher visits to kindergarten settings.

This will support:

  • additional time for Foundation teachers to visit kindergartens, meet the children and develop relationships prior to children starting school in 2021
  • additional time for early childhood teachers to support and engage in the Foundation teacher visits.

This funding is intended to contribute to the time that schools would normally allocate for Foundation teachers to hold transition sessions in Term 4, as these visits will be limited in 2020 due to health and safety advice.

Further information will be provided to schools in Term 4 on these payments.

Transition Learning and Development Statements (TLDS)

It is important to note these visits are supplementary and complementary to the TLDS. The visits themselves do not replace the need for the TLDS, which will remain critical this year, as we support children transition to school in 2021. It is a kindergarten funding requirement that every child transitioning to school has a TLDS.

Workshops are being provided for Foundation teachers in Term 4 on how to maximise transition to school processes and best use the TLDS to inform planning for children starting school the following year.

Further information on these workshops can be accessed at Professional learning to support transition to school.

Visits to schools

Kinder-to-school transition activities are permitted in schools, such as parents, educators and children meeting a Prep teacher in a school environment.

On-site visits by a Prep teacher to meet a Kindergarten teacher and children in kindergarten settings is also permitted across Victoria.

There are no limits to the number or size of groups, however the visitor density limit of one person per 2 square metres should be applied to any spaces being accessed by children, parents/carers and staff involved in transition activities.

For more health advice, refer to: Health and safety advice for all Victorian schools

Supporting children with a disability or highly complex needs

Early childhood teachers are being provided extra resourcing in Term 4 to assist the transition of children who are supported through the Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS) program. Early childhood teachers are being encouraged to establish Program Support Groups to specifically focus on the development of a plan to support the child’s move to school. Each group will include the parent(s) or guardian(s) and their advocate if desired, the early childhood teacher and educator (where appropriate), a key school contact, preferably the Foundation teacher, and other relevant professionals as required (for example, an early childhood intervention professional, additional school personnel and/or an OSHC educator). Foundation teachers are encouraged to engage with these groups.

School visits for children with a disability or highly complex needs and their families

Schools can conduct on-site school tours for prospective students and their families during operating hours, in accordance with gathering limits.

Additional information

Additional information on supporting effective reciprocal visits can be found  here.

If you require any additional information or guidance on Foundation teacher visits to Kindergartens, we encourage you to contact your local Regional Office.

Alternatively you can email the Department’s Positive Start to School Transition Team at psts@education.vic.gov.au

Common questions and answers


Transition statements — information for schools

Transition statements — information for schools

Transition Learning and Development Statements (TLDS) are provided by early childhood services and used by prep teachers, schools and outside school hours care services. ​

When your school will receive transition learning and development statements

Schools will start to receive TLDS from October. Your school should work with childhood services to agree on timelines that suit you both.

TLDS are typically written by early childhood educators in the fourth term (October or November). They capture the most current learning and developmental information to share with the receiving teacher.

If done earlier, the child’s level of learning and development is likely to have progressed and the information may not be as relevant and useful.

How your school will receive transition statements

TLDS can be received in a number of ways:

Insight assessment platform

Schools will receive the TLDS through the Insight assessment platform if:

  • the school uses Insight and
  • the early childhood service has completed the ‘Online TLDS’

The school Insight administrator can access transition statements for new prep students. See the section on Access online transitions statements for new prep students in this Guidance.

Email or post

Schools will receive the TLDS through an email or post if:

  • the school does not use Insight or
  • the early childhood service has not completed the ‘electronic TLDS’ – this is usually because the family has opted out of the service or not advised of the school their child is enrolled at

Schools may seek a copy of the TLDS directly from the child's family if they have chosen to opt out of the early childhood service providing the information to the school.

Each family is provided a completed copy of the statement from their early childhood service. 

OSHC services

The TLDS should also be shared with the Outside School Hours Care service at your school to assist in getting to know the child and family and planning accordingly.

Purpose of the TLDS

A child's TLDS:

  • summarises their abilities as they start school
  • identifies their individual approaches to learning
  • indicates how the child can be supported to continue learning

The information in the TLDS helps prep teachers to get to know the children entering their classes and plan appropriate learning and teaching programs.​ The TLDS is not a report card.

Below are seven ways that schools can effectively use the TLDS. The TLDS:

  • provides individual child interests so you can select familiar or favourite picture books and activities to reassure new preps at orientation sessions and in the first few weeks of the school year
  • outlines the child’s level of learning (at section 1.1 of the TLDS) to assist you to plan accordingly to support progression along the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) and Victoria Curriculum F-10 continuum
  • includes an ‘intentional teaching strategies’ section (at section 1.1) that provides teaching strategies that work for each individual child in the new prep classroom
  • can be used alongside the English Online Interview (EOI) data and even help determine which children should undertake the EOI first
  • has an enhanced section describing how to support children with disability and/or developmental delay including which professionals are involved in supporting the child and any reports that are available to provide further information
  • has a section completed by the child that helps school staff get to know each child quickly –this information can be used to initiate conversation with the child and display their drawings or photos to support their sense of belonging in the new classroom
  • has a section completed by the child’s family to help school staff to initiate conversation and discussion to get to know the family and their expectations, wishes and hopes for their child beginning school

To share other ways your school is successfully using transition statements, email the Department’s Early Learning Division at psts@education.vic.gov.au

Schools not using Insight

If your school does not currently use the Insight assessment platform (i.e. non-government schools) but you want to find out more, contact insight@education.vic.gov.au

Find out more

Further information on transitions statements is available for early childhood professionals, visit: Transition learning and development statements — information for early childhood professionals​


Access online transition statements for new prep students

Access online transition statements for new prep students

​​​Victorian government school staff can access Transition Learning and Development Statements (TLDS) for students starting at their school through the Insight platform.

The following information is for Victorian government schools. Information for early childhood services on transition statements is available at: Transition Statement Information for Early Childhood Services.

The process

  1. Early childhood services create statements and send them to the school nominated by the child's parent or carer. Most statements will be submitted via the Insight Assessment platform. Some may be via email, post or through the family.
  2. The school’s Insight administrator links the TLDS to a student record. They also upload any manual or printed statements received.
  3. Teachers can view the TLDS of students who are linked to them in CASES21. You must be a student's home group teacher in CASES21 to see their statement.
  4. If a student's enrolment has not been confirmed yet, schools may need to speak to the Insight administrator to get a copy of the TLDS.

Victorian government school staff Log in

  1. Visit the Insight platform
  2. Read the privacy information and scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. Choose sector as 'DET'
  4. If prompted, use your eduMail user ID (TO number) and password to log in to the platform.

School user guide

Read the School User Guide for Insight administrators and teachers.

The user guide includes:

  • accessing TLDS
  • attaching a TLDS to a student record
  • printing and downloading
  • returning TLDS to the early childhood service (if required).

Screen recordings have also been made to showcase how to complete common actions on the Insight platform.

Technical support

Speak to your school's Insight administrator first. This is usually the principal or someone they have nominated.

If the administrator cannot solve the issue:


Working with families when children are transitioning to school

Working with families when children are transitioning to school

​​How your school and outside school hours care (OSHC) service can work with families, communities and children to ensure a positive transition to primary school.

Strategies for working with families

Families know their children better than anybody. Sharing relevant knowledge that they have about their child with early childhood services and schools can help the transition to school.

For this reason, the transition learning and development statement (TLDS) includes section 3: 'the family', which invites families to:

  • outline their hopes, wishes or goals for their child at school
  • highlight things they would like to know about school
  • say how they think their child will settle into school, and what might help with settling
  • share their child’s current interests
  • explain how their child best engages and learns

This information provides a great starting point for getting to know the family and initiating conversation and discussion with them before and as their child starts school.

Families who support their children during transition to school, and who have positive relationships with staff, are likely to continue a positive engagement with school.

Some strategies to effectively support families during transition include:

  • assisting families to have an up-to-date view of the support available within schools for their child’s learning and development
  • providing opportunities for families to meet and get to know each other informally, particularly for ‘first-time’ families
  • families with older children might be more comfortable about the transition process and can provide good support to families experiencing it for the first time

Remember: when families and schools work together, children do better in school and engage in learning.

Involving children in their own transition

There are many ways to involve children in their transition to school experience. It is important to remember that listening in imaginative ways can support children as they adjust to change, such as the change of starting school.

The transition learning and development statement (TLDS) has a section specifically for the child to consider what they would like their new setting to know about themselves. This provides valuable information for the receiving school and OSHC service. This information can be used as:

  • a conversation starter
  • something to reflect on and consider as you get to know the child and their family

Why it's important to involve children

Children are active participants and contribute diverse perspectives about transitions. Listening to and involving young children in transition planning is central to understanding them and supporting their learning. Valuing young children’s views has a positive effect on their self-confidence.

We need to involve and listen to children because:

  • it acknowledges their right to be listened to and for their views and experiences to be taken seriously
  • it can make a difference to our understanding of children’s priorities, interests and concerns and how they feel about themselves
  • listening is a vital part of establishing respectful relationships with children and central to the learning process
  • involving children in transition planning can influence teachers to think about how routines and activities can be improved

The importance of working with families

Relationships are at the core of positive transition to school experiences. When families, schools and communities work together in positive and collaborative ways, a child’s capacity to achieve their learning potential is significantly enhanced. It also benefits the child's:

  • general health
  • wellbeing
  • positive outlook and sense of purpose in life

This is a key practice principle in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) and the Practice principles for teaching in the early years.


Resources

Resources

Tools to support effective transition and differentiated learning

The Department’s Transition to School Resource Kit offers practical guidance and strategies to support positive transitions and provides useful information on transition planning including key activities, timelines and evaluation.

While it is likely the entire 2021 cohort may need universal support, with more of a focus on social and emotional development, vulnerable children may require a differentiated learning approach.

To identify children experiencing vulnerability you can use the Students at Risk Planning Tool (login required) which helps you to assess, plan and provide for their needs. Regional Health and Wellbeing key contacts can support schools to use the tool.

Once you’ve identified the children requiring differentiation, consider the options to best support them in your school’s local context. A child’s Transition Learning and Development Statement is an invaluable source of information and will assist you to plan for differentiated and continuity of learning.  

Schools should consider using their equity funding to further support children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Equity funding is one of the tools schools can use to respond to the needs of their vulnerable cohorts. The funding can be used for social disadvantage, children with disabilities and for English as an Additional Language.

Schools can also pool this funding with other schools in their network to strengthen their response and strategies to deliver effective transitions during more challenging circumstances.

Information on equity funding is available at Student Resources Package — Equity Funding (Student Based Funding).

Supporting vulnerable cohorts

Curriculum planning

  • The VCAA’s VEYLDF Illustrative Maps link the learning and development outcomes of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework to the F-2 levels of the Victorian Curriculum. The maps can help prep teachers better understand and build on the learning and development that has already occurred prior to children starting school.
  • Using high impact teaching strategies or HITS can contribute to learning. There are ten instructional practices prep teachers can use, including one focused on differentiated teaching. The HITS guide is available on the Department’s High impact teaching strategies website.

Assessments of learning and development

  • English Online Interview assesses children’s English skills (reading, writing and speaking and listening). Schools are required to use this tool for each new prep cohort, usually during Term 1.
  • Mathematics Online Interview assesses the mathematical understanding of children during the early years of school. Schools are encouraged to use this tool which can help teachers plan to meet children’s learning needs.

Other Department resources

For early childhood professionals

Moving to primary school (transitions) which includes:

For school teachers

For parents

External resources

To access transition learning and development statements (TLDS) for students starting at your school through the Insight platform, refer to the VCAA website:


Reviewed 21 May 2020