The Transition to School Digital Statement

The Transition to School Digital Statement is now available for early childhood education and care (ECEC) teachers and educators at community preschools, long day care services and Department of Education preschools, to create statements for children transitioning to school in 2023. Other service types will be invited to use the digital statement in future years.

The Transition to School Statement enables information to be shared directly with a child’s school to support continuity of learning for each child. The information in the statement summarises a child's strengths, interests and approaches to learning in their year prior to school. It assists primary school teachers to better understand a child and how best to support their transition from early childhood education to school.

View the Guide to completing the Transition to School Statement.

Access the Transition to School Digital Statement

Department of Education preschool principals

Centre Directors or nominated supervisors at community preschool or long day care services

NSW public school principals who receive Transition to School Digital Statements can access their school's dashboard, or via the Staff Portal application. Principals can delegate staff access through the Access Management Utility (AMU) or Manage Staff Access (MSA).

The Transition to School team interview Midson Road Childcare Centre about how the Transition to School Digital Statement has worked for their service, children and families.

- Hi, I'm Linda from the Department of Education. And I'm here with Mel from Midson Road Childcare Center to talk about Transition to School. Mel, do you want to talk to us a little bit about your role?

- Absolutely. I'm the educational leader and the director of Midson Road Childcare Centre. I've been the director for the last 25 years, so since the centre opened. So it's been a long time that we've been working with Transition to School. And each year, we get quite excited at new prospects and new innovations.

- So tell us a little bit about your experience with your Transition to School Statement.

- Absolutely. So we've always prepared some form of documentation to share our children's knowledge, and experience, and strengths, and areas that they might need some help with with our local schools. We've worked hard to build up those relationships, so it's been lots of connections lots of visits, inviting the schools in. And we just think it's really important that the schools have something to introduce each of our children as the individuals that they are. We find the Transition to School document is really helpful because it does give you that little bit of structure. And then sharing similar information that the other schools are sharing. So rather than getting off track or sharing information that might not be helpful, we find it's quite concise. It's similar to the information that we're already sharing with our families. So it's not a trouble for us to put together. It's not an extra workload. And it just flows into the Transition to School Statement quite easily.

- So you've been part of a trial with the Department of Ed for how many years?

- I think the last two or three years. We're always excited to be a part of anything that's going to lead to growth or might streamline the practices or the processes, but also make it easier for the schools to get that information from us. So knowing that they're gonna receive it digitally rather than us have to print it out, or rely on the families, or send the emails. We just find that we are looking forward to the opportunity to just press go and know that it's just going to get uploaded.

- So talk to us a bit more about the process of putting together the Transition to School Statement. What happens here in the service?

- Absolutely. It's a journey for us. So it doesn't just get picked up at the end where we all panic and go, "Oh my goodness, we've got to prepare a document." We start back in term one. We already started the discussions around doing the research and the philosophy. We use the department's website. It's got so many interesting articles and the research to back up why we should be doing the Transition to School Statements. So I work with my early childhood teachers, but also anyone else in the center who's interested. I share all of this information across our whole team because they always want to know what we are doing and why. So we complete an in-depth literature review, a deep dive in term one and term two to just understand the why. I don't think it's much point in starting unless you know the why. Then we observe the children and continue to observe them. We do an analytical summary six months in anyway. So that's almost the same information that's going into the Transition to School Statement.

- And where do you pull that from?

- We pull that from the observations of the children, their work progress towards their goals using their family's goals, using our observations. But we also use the developmental milestone, so we use the SCQ tool.

- So what I'm hearing from you is that it's actually part of your normal documentation process, those analytical summaries that lead into the buildup of information you're gathering about the child for the statement is part of what you would do here in the state.

- Absolutely. And that's across all age groups. So we write them from our babies all the way up. So it's not like it's a brand new document. It is already in place. It's embedded. It's a practice.

- The analytical?

- The analytical summaries. So it's very, very easy to continue that through and transfer the updated information because the children, they just continue to grow so much. So we begin in term three. The end of term three., we'll start to write ourselves a few notes, a few observations, but then we'll revisit them over the next few weeks before we start to set them in stone what we would like to share with the schools. What about things like families and permissions and getting some of the information that you need for the statement? Is that something that you get from the things that already exist in the service? Or are you asking specific questions of families throughout the year? How does that look?

- Being part of the trial group, we have found this year that we've had to be a little bit more systematic in the past because we are looking at doing it digitally so we needed to make sure we had the information that we needed for that. In the past, we've always had no problems collecting the consent forms. But again, we keep our families very informed. So I also give them the why. So it's not just fill this form. It's, "We're so excited to be preparing your child's Transition to School Statement." These discussions start, we do term by term newsletters. Here's what we did this term, here's what's coming next term. We embed that information in from the start of term one, term two. We revisit in term three. So our families actually know already months and months in advance. It's not a surprise for them. But that's those honest and two-way conversations. The families are excited about the children starting school. Some of them are a little bit nervous. A lot of them are first time families. So they're very excited to get the information back. And again, we use the department's resources. So I always share the fact sheets, the information sheets, the research, the why, the what are we going to do with that information, where is it going to go? So we're not just writing it because we feel it, that we're writing it to help support your child as they transition to school. So we are very fortunate that our families are very, very open to getting involved with these sorts of things. But I think that's because we've prepared them months in advance. It's not a surprise. And I think it needs to be a journey. It needs to be a two-way street.

- What do you think are the benefits of the Transition to School Statement?

- Absolutely. I think it's sharing the information about our children and what we know about our children with the schools. I think we all know that schools are slightly larger. So our children are gonna go from a group of 20 to a cohort of up to 100, depending on what school they go to. So how are we going to make sure that all those special little bits and pieces? And that includes some areas that they might need some support in, how are we going to get that information to the school and to the teachers and to the child's teachers so that our children have the best possible start and the most positive start to their next round of schooling.

- And in the process that you were talking to me about before about what happens here at the service, you have a look at all the statements that educators and teachers come for this.

- I do, I do. As the educational leader, I think it's really important that I'm checking the work that is going out. We really value that information, and so I like to make sure that I've reflected on it. That just means I can look at it with potentially a slightly different way so that I can just tweak them and make sure the information is the best about the child.

- So Mel, tell me why you think it's important that we, as early childhood professionals, share information with schools in the Transition to School Statement like we do.

- Yes, I think it's all about elevating the profession. It's making those connections that what we are doing here in the early childhood years is so important and so crucial to set up that Transition to School. If we weren't doing what we were doing and providing the successful steps, not every child would transition as smoothly as they do.

- Tell me about what the schools have said about the Transition to School Statement. Is that something they find valuable? Do you find all schools engaged?

- I would say 70% of them definitely value it. We've still got the 30% that we're not sure if they read it. We don't get a lot of communication back. We've had to be okay with that. That's not us. That's the school and their processes. But it also means that we haven't stopped. So we still keep sending the emails. We make sure we print a copy of the statement. We email a copy of the statement. This year, we're very excited to be digitally pressing go on the statement. I feel like if we just keep flooding them, they will eventually work out that it's a really important document and that we're introducing each child as an individual. So we get to know these children so much, especially the ones who have been here since their babies. We've spent half of their lifetime and then they're off to school. So we've got so much knowledge that we can share that we think it's really important. So we just don't give up. I think that's the most important thing.

- So why not? It would be really easy to say, Oh reading them,

- It would be really

- it's not worth doing the statement

- easy to give up, guys.

- because there's a lot of work in those

- There is a lot of work.

- Why do you not give up? Why?

- Absolutely. Because that's not fair on the children, and it's not fair on their families. And I think a high percentage of them are beginning to value it more and more. I think with each year that's gone on, I do think that we are getting a lot better feedback, and they're taking the time, and they're asking for it in advance. So I think those last couple of schools that aren't quite sure, I think if we just keep going, we'll get them involved.

- So tell me a little bit about the design of the statement. It's set up under the EYLF outcomes.

- Yes.

- Does that work with what it is that happens in the service through your documentation?

- It does for us. It's very smooth. It's very easy. The only thing that we have to think about that's a little bit different is collecting a nice piece of the child's artwork that they might like to share with the school. There's a question in there about that from the child's perspective. Other than that, if the information is what we were going to do in our analytical summaries anyway. So we've already done similar halfway through the year. We were going to do that anyway. That information just slides straight into the outcomes. It's very easy to use. It's very user-friendly.

- And some of the information around culture and family language you use, is that something that you would get from enrolment forms, or do you have different processes as to where you would draw that from?

- We do get it in our enrolment forms. We also give families little child profiles that they submit and they update. This year. being part of the trial group, we've also asked our families those questions directly so that their voice is represented back into the Transition to School Statement. So we could have gone and found it, but we also offered them the opportunity to give their perspectives if there's something more that they'd like to share because some of the enrollment forms were filled in a few years ago. Things changed, or families might want to have a different perspective put forward. So it was a great opportunity to connect with our families, which we have lovely relationships with anyway, so it was very, very easy to start collecting that information as well.

- So that's some of the pre-work you were talking about before that you do

- Some of the pre-work.

- before the end of the year.

- Exactly, exactly. I think it's all about being a little bit systematic. I think don't think that you could start it in term four and not then feel like it is a little bit of work. But if you start thinking about the questions, open the document up, do your reflections, do your readings you know what's coming, it's not a surprise. So we just did a little deep dive, worked out what questions we were gonna need to ask. And we already had that planned weeks and weeks ago so that when the time comes, it's just a transfer of information in rather than trying to write it on the spot. We definitely find that writing a draft first helps, and then it goes through a few other teachers, and then I read it. And that way, it gets that quality control as well that we've been talking about.

- So it sounds like you've got a really clear process about the Transition to School Statement being completed, but all those steps throughout the year, all of those things happen to make sure that when it's statement time, that you're prepared and ready.

- That's exactly it

- How long does it take for a Transition to School Statement to be completed? This is something we get asked a lot

- Sure.

- from a whole range of different people.

- Absolutely. I think it depends on the child. I think every teacher would acknowledge that some children, they just flow, and there's always gonna be others, especially we do have some children with additional needs and higher support needs. So theirs are going to reflect a little bit of different information. So on average, I would say it only takes our educators half an hour per child.

- Okay.

- But that's because we do do that system anyway. So every child's getting one written against the the outcomes, anyway. So that information, we're just sort of so used to it. It just flows. Well, I think if you were to just pick it up in term four, I think it would take a good hour per child. By the time we get their drawings, we get their reflections we get their thoughts, and then write your summaries, there is a little bit to it, but you can do a lot of work in advance so that you're ready to go.

- Tell me more about when you do the statements, around what time of the year.

- We sort of start really getting into them by end of term three. So the last two or three weeks of term three, we really start to have a look at what sort of information it's going to be. We've got now draft, outcomes, summary information written over this term break. So we don't close for term break, but we use that time as a little bit of reflection, revision, downtime. We do often have children on school holidays and things like that. So it's a great opportunity to just take a minute and get some notes down. So we've got them drafted now. We'll take another week or two, get started for term four, and then review them together. I'll do a final review with the view to put them up in the next two or three weeks.

- So what would be the one piece of advice and wisdom that you would share with early childhood professionals who perhaps aren't as further on their journey with using their Transition to School Digital Statement?

- Absolutely. I think if it's gonna be for this year, just give it a go. Do your best. Do your best. Any information is still great information, and it's still sharing information about each individual child with their schools. If it's ready for next year, I think start term one. Get your children settled and then start your research. Start learning your whys and thinking about your whys. Talk to your colleagues. Think about how you're going to approach it across the year, so that when the time comes, it's not a big shock and it's not time-consuming. It just becomes part of your natural everyday processes.

- As part of the planning cycle, the curriculum.

- As part of the planning cycle, the curriculum your intentional teaching time. It's a great opportunity to get to know your children a little bit more in depth as well.

- And what would be the one piece of advice that you would give to teachers in schools who are receiving a Transition to a School Statement? What do you think you would say to them?

- I think as long as you're taking the time to read everything that we are offering because we're talking about the children's strengths and we're trying to share that knowledge with us. But if we're sharing some information about some things that they might need help with, really take that on board and even come back and ask us some questions. Can we give you any more information? What could we do differently? I think we have just such a range of children, and they all learn so differently, that if I'm telling you in a document that one of my children needs help, I really want you to be able to help me help that child.

- So tell me about that partnership between early childhood services and schools and why that's important.

- Yeah, I think it's just that collaboration. I think it's the ongoing sharing of information. It's working together for the best interests of the children.

- So tell me what you do as part of that process.

- Absolutely. I think it's making sure that we professionally connect and that we are connecting with the educators at the schools on the same level. So again, making sure that we are seen as fellow professionals because that's what we are, we're colleagues. We're no different to each other. And not letting them not listen to our voices. So if you get a phone call a few weeks after a little one starts school and you go, "Oh, I did pop that information in." You know, that at least next year, maybe they'll read it a little bit more closely or connect a little bit more deeply.

- You mentioned before that you have how many schools in this area?

- We feat to seven or eight local schools and then there's some out of area schools as well because we also have children who attend who don't live in the suburbs. So that does make it a little bit more difficult because you're not just working with one person. So I do keep quite a few different principals, and assistant principals, and kindergarten coordinators on the fly. But that two-way street is really, really important.

- So what would you do with them? How would you involve them in the whole transition process, not just the statement?

- Yes, absolutely. Again, that starts way back in term one. So we introduce ourselves. As soon as we start to get an idea of what schools our children will be going to, we send an introductory email and we just say, "Hi, we're from Midson Road. We really love the opportunity to connect." As we've continued developing those relationships, that's gotten easier and easier. But I really had to work hard at it at the start. I had to make a little bit of noise and make sure that they knew where we're here, inviting them in for visits. When we can, we visit the local schools as well. We've got a new school opening up close very, very soon, so we'll be excited we'll be able to walk to that one. So that will be great. So also putting us in and saying, "What can we do for you? What can we host for you? Would you like to come and read us a book?" Simultaneous story time, we had one of the local principals come in and read a book to our children. We've had the local school band, the Year Six school band offer to come in and play instruments. And at that time, then we connected to, "Look at the uniforms. Oh, do you know this person? Your brothers, your sisters," things like that. Or even just learning that's misses because when you go to school, the names change, but that doesn't mean that they're not still your teacher. Things like that. So making relationships, making connections, but also advocating that what we are doing here is just as important.

- Mel, I just wanna say thank you so much for sharing your time and your experience with our listeners and with us. And we really look forward to working together down the track.

- Absolutely, our pleasure. And if you're not already doing it, get on board with the Transition to School Statement. It is definitely worth it.

- Thanks.

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