Transcript of Beginning school strong and successfully Part 1

Beginning school strong and successfully – Part 1 (1:04:51)

Sheree Bell – Early Learning Advisor – Hi and welcome to beginning school strong and successfully part one. Implementing the transition guidelines.

I would like to begin by acknowledging and paying my respects to the Biddegal people. The traditional custodians of the land I'm on today. I would also like to pay respects to the traditional custodians of the land you are on today. I acknowledge the Biddegal peoples continuing connection to land, water and community. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders viewing this presentation today.

So, my name is Sheree Bell and I'm one of the Early Learning advisors within the curriculum. Early years and primary learners team, and today I'm joined by my colleague Kelly. Welcome Kelly Birket.

Kelly Birket – Early Learning Advisor – Hi Sheree, thanks everybody for joining us today. My name is Kelly Birket and I'm also an Early Learning Advisor.

Sheree Bell – So today the course outcomes for this recording is learners will understand the evidence base of the importance of transition to school and transition policy guidance and reflect on how the strong and successful start to school transition guidelines and toolkit can be used to support transition planning, resulting in effective transition practices.

So, Kelly has set up for us a place just to kind of source and hold all the materials and resources from the Presentation. To access the course materials and resources will be through Microsoft Teams. To go to teams, you can open teams from the portal after selecting Microsoft Office 365 and then selecting the Teams icon as shown in the image at the top there. Once you are actually into Teams select the early learning in schools team, and then the statewide staffroom channel. If you then go to the files tab, you can open the folder beginning school, strong and successful PL. If you're not a member of the team already, you can either go into teams and join the team or email the Early Learning at that email address at the bottom of the screen and we can set you up to join the team.

So this beginning school Strong and successfully part one is the first part of the course. There is an additional part two, three and four that you can enrol separately on my PL to attend. This is just to cater for staff who may want to just overview and only choose to engage in part one. So, part one is one hour registered learning at proficient and if you enrol in parts two, three and four together, it's three hours at the proficient level. So, Kelly’s going to set the scene for us a little bit now.

Sheree Bell – Thanks, Kel

Kelly Birket – Thanks Sheree. OK so have a look at the image here. We've sourced this from Charles Sturt University.

So, the image represents the different transition journeys children take. Each child's transition looks very, very different as you will have noticed, some will fly into Kindy without a care in the world, whereas others are going to need a supported, well-structured and planned bridge in.

This image reminds us that transition practices are going to look different at each school and that we need to think differently for some children and families.

So, what does it feel like? You'd know yourself from transitions you've had in your own life, that both challenging and exciting transition is a time of change, children and families and educators adjust to new roles, identity's, expectations, interactions, and relationships. So, some in the cloud there are some of the feelings, concerns, emotions of the families of the children who will be transitioning. Starting schools are major life transition for both children and their families. Some people say it's one of the most significant life events a child will face.

Keep in mind that each family is going to have very different hopes and aspirations for their child as they start their formal learning journey. Research tells us that children who have a positive start to school are likely to engage and experience ongoing academic and social success.

Sheree Bell – I have heard that Kelly to about it being a quite a significant change. You know, an exciting time but an anxious time for some as well though, so it's good to remember how significant it is for children and families.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely and so interactions that engagements with families may become more intense sometimes because their families are experiencing a huge range of emotions.

OK, so for this course part one as well as parts two, three and four we will be using some terms that are sometimes used in different ways. Just so that we're all on the same page on the screen here a list of some of the key concepts and terms around transition. So, there are different definitions, but just for our purposes I just wanted to explain how we are using these terms throughout the two presentations to transition to school.

We believe it occurs overtime beginning well before children start school and extending to the point where children and families feel a sense of belonging at the school. For each child and family that's going to be at a different point. You can't predict it, but the key thing there to know is that transition to school is ongoing and occurs over a long period. It's an active process of continuity and change as children move into their first year of school.

So, transition practices. So, these are the embedded behaviours, plans, and strategies engaged by schools to support the children and families through the transition process. So, this includes things like professional collaborations, the building and maintenance of relationships with the families with other professionals involved in the child's life. The gathering and analysis of data, so finding out about the incoming children. Transition practices include responsive planning, and also orientation programs.

So, I then put orientation programs as a separate point there on the third bar. So, when we refer to orientation programs we are talking about activities such as school and classroom tours, information sessions, family, social events, involvement in whole school activities, sometimes supported playgroups, sessions, play sessions. Things like that that the purpose of them is to orientate the child and family to the school environment. Orientation programs provide familiarity with the school, the venue routines, and just the general feel of the school and the school culture. So, we view orientation programs as part of the bigger picture. It's one of the transition practices, but it's by no means the only things you do, so we look at transition little bit more. Holistically it involves the development of their relationships. You know the finding out about the children and things like that as well.

OK, and then on the fourth bar there we've got continuity of learning. So, this is all about schools acknowledging that children start school with funds of knowledge and have already begun their educational journey both at home and at an early childhood service. If they've attended One. Continuity of learning refers to the school, particularly kindergarten classroom, providing continuity in the experiences, pedagogy, and curriculum the child has experienced prior to commencing school.

Part four of this the course deals solely with continuity of learning, and that's an hour-long recording. So, if you want more information about continuity of learning, just hold tight. We will come back to it when a continuity of learning exists children are able to transfer and adapt, previously gained skills and knowledge to their learning environment.

OK, and then the last term there is school readiness. I'll move to the next slide and we will have a look at that there.

OK, so you might have heard the term school readiness previously. The traditional use of this term focuses on the child and their readiness for school in terms of academic knowledge. There's a lot of commercial programs out there. Tutoring places offer them school readiness programs. They aim to make the child ready for school. The starting strong five report on transition and OECD countries. It's a 2017 document. Notes that the focus of readiness should be on more than a child's age and academic knowledge. Holistically, school readiness refers to ready children and ready schools, as well as the family and community’s readiness to promote and support the child's transition. So, the starting strong document is looking at readiness as a holistic thing. It refers to a shared responsibility. School readiness should be viewed in a broad, holistic way incorporating not only a child's readiness for the learning environment and learning dispositions but also the learning environments readiness for the child. So that's a really key shift in thinking. It's not just about making the child ready for school, or asking. Is the child ready for school? We should also be asking is to school ready for this child. As we go on further, we will talk a lot about data and collecting data. To know about the child and what sort of adjustments need to be made to support the child's transition.

OK, two other terms that you hear bandied around a lot, often in the media, schoolification or push down curriculum. They're not referred to in our new transition guidelines, but they are definitely out there and being used. These terms are used to describe early childhood education services adopting practices that are more related to primary school For example, more teacher-directed pedagogies less opportunity for play, greater attention given to academic content. The belief is that this will support school readiness, but research is actually showing that that's counter intuitive. The more age and child appropriate pedagogical practices are, the greater the benefits for children's social and cognitive development. Again, in part 4 of this course, we look a little bit at age appropriate pedagogies, so research tells us that age-appropriate pedagogies, as opposed to academic driven content and less opportunities for learning through play are actually not supporting the child's transition. Essentially age appropriate pedagogies if you haven't heard the term before, essentially are teaching approaches which acknowledge how young children learn best. That is two things such as play based learning, project learning, and enquiry learning.

Sheree Bell – We will talk about that very, very briefly in this session as well as a little bit later, Kelly too.

Kelly Birket – Oh yes, we will. Yes, thanks Sheree. OK, so I'll hand over Sheree. Sheree is going to talk us through the policy directions.

Sheree Bell – Thank you, Kelly.

So, transition is a priority for the department. You can see here. We've got an image of the Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018 to 2022 and it highlights successful transition practices in goals one, two, and nine. So, all children make a strong start in life and learning and make a successful transition to school. Every student is known valued and cared for in our schools and community. Confidence in public education is high, so schools have an important responsibility to support a successful transition to school. For every child you can see their goal to every student is known, valued and cared for in our school really encapsulates transitions, best practices, schools need to know who's coming and find out about each of their children that are coming. Their culture, the background, who their siblings are there, prior education, additional needs, etc. and then use this information really to help the child settle into school.

At a school level transition is also a priority. The school excellence framework identifies transition and continuity of learning under the domain of learning culture. So, the school excellence framework outlines the receiving school's responsibility to support a successful transition to school for every child in that theme of transitions and continuity of learning.

So, the framework describes excelling practice as the school engages in strong collaboration with parents, students and the community that inform and support continuity of learning for all students at transition. So, schools use the school excellence framework descriptors for self-assessment and to develop the school's situational analysis.

Kelly Birket – Yes, it's really interesting, Shere. The two at the excelling level, the two key themes are I read that are the collaborations as being critical and then also the continuity of learning as being critical as well.

Sheree Bell – Yes, and you've spoken about that. You know before about the importance in the crucialness of those collaborations, those partnerships, and I think you're going to talk about that in a little bit more detail in a little bit as well and as you've mentioned, continuity of learning is really vital and we spend part four talking about continuity of learning digging a little deeper into that too. If people are interested in.

Kelly Birket – Yes, yes, for sure. I mean the contrast to the level of delivering is actively planning and then communicating your plans. But then at this excelling level, it's so much more than that it's all about the collaboration and the continuity of learning.

Sheree Bell – Absolutely, it's putting that Department strategic plan really in to action, isn't it?

Kelly Birket – Absolutely for sure.

Sheree Bell – So that's from a school, how transition is a priority within a school. If we're looking at prior to school services or early childhood education settings they are working with the national quality standing to develop a quality improvement plan. So, within that national quality standard, standard 6.2 really relates to those transitions and community engagement. So, these statements here are kind of actions that would be at a meeting level. So, for transitions where you've got a continuity of learning and transitions for each child, or supported by sharing information and clarifying responsibilities and with community engagement at a meeting level, the service builds relationships and engages with its community.

Just going to skip to the next slide here, which is still a continuation from the national quality standard and this now goes into examples of evidence at an exceeding level for that standard 6.2 that we just had a look at just now. So, these are the types of evidence that you'd be able to see if an early childhood education service was operating at that exceeding level in relation to transition. So, promoting continuity of learning and transitions for each child by sharing relevant information and clarifying responsibilities. Build collaborative strategies. Relevant stakeholders engaging in robust debate and discussion about the services approach to building community partnerships and supporting inclusion and transitions seeking out and building new community partnerships. In response to the perspectives, priorities, and strengths of the children and families at the service. Including the changing support and transition needs of children. So again, that seeking those partnerships and building those collaborative strategies with the relevant stake holders is an area where schools and early childhood that they're coming together to build those strong transition practices across both of those contexts.

So, if you're thinking about it as far as continuity of learning excellence has been set out in both of those different documents. The school excellence framework for the school sector and the national quality standard for the prior to school sector nationally. So, both have outlined what excellence looks likes in terms of transition to school and both of them as you said before Kelly, both of them are really calling out continuity of learning as important.

So, then we have a think about transition at individual teacher level and it's another priority. Excellence and equity and transition to school planning and programs support achievement against all of the seven standards identified in the Australian professional standards for teachers, but particularly with a strong focus on standards. One, know your students and how they learn, and seven that engage professionally with colleagues, parents, carers in the community.

So, at all levels there you can see that transition is highlighted. Transition and continuity of learning are really highlighted as very important. And Kelly would you like to just talk a little bit more around the transition toolkit, please.

Kelly Birket – Yes, for sure. So originally this professional learnings been developed to support schools to implement the newly released transition guidelines and the accompanying toolkit and the tool kit are made up of resource and information sheets on the left there, you can see the front cover of the transition guidelines and then on the right just an example of some of the resources in the toolkit. So, the information sheets tailoring transition planning for identified equity group. So, there's an information sheet for each of the equity groups the department has identified, and these are the groups of children and families who may require a differentiated or tailored approach to. Transition, so we’ve got Aboriginal children, children and families in low SES areas. Children with a disability, high potential and gifted students, refugee or newly arrived children, as well as those who are experiencing transition in a multicultural context. The second in the middle bar there this actually, is the professional learning that you are engaging right now, has been developed to support the release of the transition guidelines and the final, I guess resource available to you. There's a range of resource sheets to support the implementation of the guidelines. So, these include a sheet with examples of successful transition practices. There's a transition planning checklist. There's Frequently Ask Question sheet, there's examples of how you might address SEF descriptors in the school plan there is also an example of a situation on a completed situational analysis in relation to transition. So, the guidelines and these associated resources which we refer to as the toolkit are available on the Department's website. If you go into early learning so you're going to curriculum and then Early Learning and then transition you'll be able to access these. So, the guidelines themselves highlight the importance of whole school transition planning that engage that engages children and families, local early childhood service providers, other professionals, and the community so that's the key message that I wanted to share about the guidelines at this point. So, the rest of this presentation, and then parts two, three and four we will be going through the different sections of the guidelines and just unpacking and exploring some of the content.

Sheree Bell – What a great time resource for everyone to access Kelly. Thank you, that's great.

Kelly Birket – No problem at all. There's another little sweet of resources, but we will refer to that in a little minute.

OK, so, in this section we're just going to have a little look at the evidence base related to transition.

So, our focus on the importance of successful transitions has increased throughout many countries worldwide. There is a large body of national and international evidence that supports the critical importance of a positive start to school for all children. Research positions are positive start to school as an element of future social, educational and economic success that the benefits of a quality transition persisting overtime. While the emphasis on a positive start to school holds for all children. It has been advocated as particularly important for children described as marginalised or disadvantaged. If you haven't read the literature review showing there on the right, it's a great easy read. But in summarises all of the related research around transition, so in a lot of the content for this presentation is coming from that document, including these three points here on the screen.

OK, and from Charles Sturt University The importance of a positive transition to school has been emphasised in research around the world. It is well established that a successful start to school is linked to later positive educational and social outcomes. Children who have a positive start to school are likely to regard school as an important place and to have positive expectations of the ability to learn and succeed at school. Unfortunately, if the move to school does not go well and children don't manage the demands of the new environment than their engagement in school activities and even attendance can be compromised and then that will have long term negative consequences.

OK, so this information has come from the OECD report on transition. They note there's three primary reasons for ensuring that attention is given to, well manage transitions. One to ensure that the benefits of early childhood education and care endure. To prepare children for school and for life and to improve equity in education outcomes.

OK, so this information here is from the CC literature review. Again, it talks about successful transition to school being influenced by many factors, including the academic, social, emotional, behavioural and cognitive competences of the child. However, research shows that these factors three factors that are shown on the screen here, home learning environment, high quality early childhood education, and links between early childhood services, schools and families are the most critical for an effective transition. When we talk about high-quality early childhood education, research tells us that children who participate in high quality, long day care. Long day care, preschool, family day care before they attend school for at least 600 hours in the year before school are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning. So, this is just going on a little bit of a tangent. This is why it's so critical that if you your schools implementing orientation programs that they don't interfere with the child's ability to access high quality early childhood education because before they attend school, the best place for a child to be is in a regulated, approved, high quality service and the reason the third factor here is actually circled is because that's where departmental staff can have a huge impact and really make a difference to a child and the family start to school. There's an agreement across the literature about the importance of collaboration between schools, early childhood education and care services, and families during the transition process.

OK, so looking at research collectively you can group the findings into these three crucial aspects for planning successful transition to school practices, and if you have a look in the transition guidelines. Each of these are unpacked a little bit more so high expectations and teacher collaboration, holistic practices and engagement in shared understandings.

OK, so we just mentioned the importance of collaboration between stakeholders for creating continuity between settings and the sharing of information. So, on this slide here you'll see some of the stakeholders are noted. Traditionally there's been a sense that it's responsibility of the school to induct children into the ways of the school. Perry and Dockett, who are transition researchers based at Charles Sturt Uni argue that it's actually a shared responsibility of the broader community. Optimally, schools will lead the process and initiate relationships and collaborations and seek out input from people and groups outside the school, but transition can't be done by the school alone there needs to be a reaching out to the other stakeholders. So, when we talk about the community were talking about things like obviously friends, elders, the local AECG, community service workers, health workers, early intervention services counsellors, disability support workers. So, this is particularly critical if you've got a child transitioning into your school who has a particular need or disability, they already have a little group of people supporting them and the family, so, you need to be engaging with those people to collaborate on the best way to support that particular child to transition. Just one more point about the stakeholders is that as well as sharing information about the child and contributing to planning decisions, they've also got a role to play in promoting and supporting the smooth transition.

OK, so now we're going to do a little bit of an overview of the principles and practices of high-quality transition parts two, three and four, we will unpack a little bit more and explore these principles and practices.

OK, so this is a quote we've got Perry and Dockett again here. As I mentioned before from Charles Sturt Uni. When a child feels that they belong in the new place, whatever it is. When the educator feels that they belong as part of this new group of children, and when the family feels that they belong, I think then you can say they have all made an optimal transition.

Sheree Bell – Yes, like you said before Kelly, it kind of transitions so different for you know, for every individual child and family and it doesn't just kind of stop day one, term one of kindergarten, it can go on for a much longer period of time that you know, through term one, even into term two and beyond.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely

Sheree Bell – What do you remember, I think you talked about that with all of the stakeholders to, you know, when everyone feels they belong then that transition has been optimal.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely and then there's also their situation where sometimes children will settle initially and feel they belong, but then after a couple of weeks realise that this is a permanent move. Now that you feel a little unsettled, definitely usually it takes about a fortnight. I have found in my experience.

Sheree Bell – Is that right?

Kelly Birket – Alright, so on this next slide.

OK, so this image is taken from the CESE what works best 2020 update. The document recognises that when a connectedness between the child and school is evidenced, a sense of belonging exists and relationships with peers and teachers are well fostered. What works best in practice calls out a set of eight themes that support effective teaching and learning. Many of these are crucial considerations for high quality transition. OK, so these themes align very closely with the early years learning framework guiding principles. These are equally important when planning and implementing high quality transition practices. In Part two of this course, we will unpack these principles a little bit better, so we've got high expectations and equity. Ongoing learning and reflective practice. Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships. Respect for diversity and partnerships.

So, what do high-quality transition practices look like? Acknowledging that children start school with funds of knowledge and have already begun their educational journey both at home and at an early childhood service, supporting and promoting all children's access to early childhood education. Viewing transition is a two-way experience, both an opportunity to build relationships with children, families and community as well as an opportunity to orientate children to the school context. Pardon me, I actually think that should have been two points there, but the point about promoting children's access to early childhood education, as I mentioned before, the best way to support a young child's learning is for them to participate in some sort of preschool program in the year prior to attending school. So it's really critical if children are coming to enrol in kindergarten and it becomes apparent that they've not actually attended a prior to school service to talk to the family and if there is a service available in the area and that they are able to access it to really strongly suggest that. It's worth enrolling their child, even if it's for one or two terms. The final point, there finding out as much information about what children know and can do their development and learning styles and dispositions to ensure children experiencing successful transition to school, including accessing transition to school statements from early childhood services. So, we'll have a look at transition to school statements in the little minutes. Sorry about that. There's a couple of typos there.

OK, so continuing on, what do high quality transition practices look like? Understanding what and how children learn in early childhood settings and how it connects with school curriculum. So that's alluding to the continuity of learning, offering children and families multiple opportunities to feel a sense of belonging to the school community. This will be achieved over a period of time and ran a range of transition practices, including an orientation program which includes school tours, classroom visits, invitations to whole school events and activity days, parents sessions and connecting with early childhood services and community groups and recognising that a strong start to school involves more than orientation to the school environment and routines. So generally, orientation is viewed as a chance for the family and children to find out about the school, but what that last point is alluding to is that there is also needs to be the school finding out about the child.

OK, so in part three of this course, each of the practices shown on the screen is explored in detail. These are the particular practices that we've selected to unpack and talk about implementation in part three. We also include video links to interviews of Department staff talking about the implementation of particular practices in their school, and that's really interesting because it's great to hear from people. Actually, you know, trying these things and implementing them really well and seeing the benefits so you can see the last box, their orientation programs, so within an orientation program schools select and implement different activities depending on their context and what's needed. Some of the things that schools do are supported, playgroups, school and classroom tours, classroom visits, play sessions, they produce social stories, have information for families and some schools also run buddy programs.

Sheree Bell – Yes, it's great those links are fantastic. Kelly, it's great to hear from our colleagues about, you know what's working well in their space and in their context, you know I always love hearing what's happening across different schools so they are a great resource.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely.

Sheree Bell – So, Kelly mentioned before we're going to just take a little moment. Just have a look at the transition to school statements, so, we'll do that just now.

So, you may already be aware of the transition to school statement so that the transition to school statement is a practical tool for sharing information and supporting continuity between the early childhood services and schools. So, the transition to school statement is completed by early childhood educators and then forwarded onto the relevant schools with parental permission. Their statement aims to give a snapshot of learning, development and the background of children moving from that early childhood service to kindergarten. If you haven't seen it, there's links to the early years learning framework and early stage one outcomes. They're embedded throughout the document. A school transition planning team can reflect on the information provided in the transition to school statements and consider how this information can be shared with teachers and how it can inform programming. The transition to school statement provides a baseline for teachers to begin planning forward for the start of the kindergarten year and beyond. So, the transition to school statement has been developed by what was known as the early childhood education directorate, now known as Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Early Childhood. It's been a written statement however, there is an online version being released hopefully in term four is that correct Kelly?

Kelly Birket – That's my understanding. I haven't actually, seen it, but I believe yes term four 2020. It will be released.

Sheree Bell – So it's coming, so keep your eyes out for the online version. They're not mandatory for early childhood services to complete, but because they are considered such an effective tool for supporting transition that you know highly suggested. As a tool, and so you've got your best start kindergarten assessment information which provides that data on children's literacy and numeracy skills. But the transition to school statement provides kind of more holistic development, developmental data like in social and emotional development dispositions for learning. So, if your school doesn't receive this transition to school statements from your local early childhood services, that might be something to enquire about with them during your partnerships and collaborations during this transition to school process. We will look in Part two. We will look at an example of a completed transition to school statement so you can have a look at it if you're interested in Part two.

Kelly Birket – Yes, and Sheree we have a little look at data collection in Part two more generally and we talk about using the transition to school statement in combination with the best start data in combination with other methods of data collection such conversations observations interviews to provide you with a holistic view of each child.

Sheree Bell – Perfect.

So, look we will just briefly look now at age appropriate pedagogies in the kindergarten classroom. Again, as Kelly mentioned, this is explored further in our other part, but just briefly.

We want to note I guess that the research shows that young children learn best through age-appropriate pedagogies as opposed to kind of formal, more formal. You know, pencil and paper type activities that are focused on narrow academic outcomes. So, in addition, learning from play learning through play is what children have experienced both in the home and in the early childhood settings. So, exposure to this approach will really support that continuity of learning. The Queensland Government states that age appropriate pedagogies in the early years are learner centred involving the scaffolding of learning and engage children actively in holistic learning, and that foundation paper. The image on the right there in that link will take you to the research conducted through the University through the Queensland government and Griffith University of educational research. So, if you'd like to read a bit more about that, you can and as I said, we also unpack it further in Part two. The early is learning framework also talks about play based learning as an age. Appropriate pedagogy play provides a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds as they engage actively with people, objects, and representations and supports continuity of learning as children transition from early childhood education to the early years of school.

So, this slide just overviews three of the age appropriate teaching pedagogies, all of which would support continuity of learning. So, you've got your enquiry learning there where which is active learning process is where children are kind of planning and carrying out investigation and really able to make some decisions and choices about their learning. Play based learning provides that holistic development it's Supporting active and imaginative engagement and a broad range of literacy and numeracy skills and your project approach, which it's an in-depth exploration of a topic where you that interests the child and where they can work by themselves or with a group, or even with the whole class. So, if you think about, I guess you know enquiry learning lends itself particularly well to science and technology. Project approach lends itself well to history, geography, PDHPE and play based learning really lends itself to all learning areas really well.

Kelly Birket – Yes, It definitely does.

Sheree Bell – So, I'm just going to read a little quote here. Just pop that up. By Bogard and Takanishi nothing magical or mysterious happens to children's brains or learning styles in the six week holiday period between finishing early years education and starting school. There are no grounds, therefore, for abruptly changing the teaching style and content. Rather, there is a strong rationale for seeking greater alignment between early years services and school curricula, with a more gradual introduction to structured learning.

Kelly Birket – I've always loved that quote, Sheree, it really makes you think. Why do our systems you know, have the expectations that children change so dramatically between preschool and kindergarten?

So, this next section we're going to look at deals with supporting transition while physically distancing. So, we've made this recording at the end of term three, 2020.

The key thing is because things are changing and the department's advice does change obviously with what's happening in the community and the advice from the health department. So my best advice to you is to be aware of current advice around transition to school activities so the first web page there will have the most current information, so I don't want to give really, really explicit advice in case it does change between now and when you're accessing this recording. When you're planning your transition and implementing transition, you're not able to run face to face sessions, you'll need obviously to still engage their families and children, but the second website there gives you some advice for doing that remotely, so if you are needing to connect with families and children remotely, we have got a few tips here for you. The first thing is to identify which transitions you will be conducting, and then to determine which format or medium will be used so it might be electronic, so that might be through an existing app that your school uses. It might be your school, Facebook, it might be through email, it might be a dedicated Facebook page for incoming children. It's really up to the local school. My only advice would be if you've got an existing method of communicating with the school community is to try to tap into that rather than something completely new. Obviously of course you can still be, you know, sharing information through hard copies so, you would be using things like the mail or families coming in to pick up packs and then the third thing would be to develop your content so on the squares there the boxes are just some suggestions of things that you might look at doing if you're not able to have face to face sessions or you know, run your school tours. You know you might want to have recorded welcome messages. You might have recorded information, so this might be a video, or it might just be audio covering topics such as uniforms, arrival procedures, how to support learning at home. You might take advantage of your older school students who may end up being the kindies buddies. They may narrate a video tour of the school. I've seen some really nice examples made by schools of that. To gather information about the Children, incoming children, you might want to access, use Google or Microsoft forms surveys. There's been a suggestion that perhaps using a Zoom Live Q and A event so that the families would have an opportunity to actually speak directly with school staff and ask questions about things that are concerning them about orientation or transition, or things that they want to know. You might look at developing a school social story so you could present that, obviously, in video it might be a word document, it might be a PDF or a PowerPoint. And then another suggestion I've heard of schools developing PowerPoint slideshows with photos and then accompanying text too, then they share them via email with the family to support their knowledge and familiarity with the school environment.

OK, so the department's developed a particular resource package to support the current group of children who will be starting kindergarten in 2021. So, this package of resources is known as the 2021 kindergarten cohort. So, in this resource package, there's some school stories and I might get Sheree because she has been involved in that to just give us a little bit of a summary of what's involved with those.

Sheree Bell – Yes, we've got five different schools, as Kelly mentioned, who've just shared some of the strategies or practices that they are planning to use or have been using to engage with the community and children like that that are coming in in this 2021 cohort. It's not all of their strategies, but they've shared some of the, I guess some of the key strategies that have really been successfully engaging children and families in this kind of, unusual time when they're not really allowed on school sites at the moment, so yes, there again our colleagues sharing strategies I find is really helpful.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely, I agree. I did have a little sneak peek at one of them and yes it was great to read about some of the things that schools are doing, I guess to think outside of the box at during this time because you know, children do still need to have the opportunity to find out about what they're going to and to be able to have contact with the school if this can't be done face to face. It does require a little bit of creative thought.

Sheree Bell – And I think that's what is so great about, well about this. You know that the schools sharing and what's great coming out of schools. I'm just constantly in awe of the innovative, creative approaches that schools are taking. As advice changes, you know fairly constantly this year it's so great to see how everyone is just jumped on board to really think outside the box and make sure that these children and families feel that kind of welcoming belonging. Even though they can't meet face to face and it's just very inspiring.

Kelly Birket – Yes, it is and at the end of the day, the you know the bottom line is they're doing the best they can to ensure those children start school well, that it's a settled transition and yes, and that's great because that's what every child is known to be valued, and cared for. That's what you mentioned at the beginning about the strategic plan and I very much see that in action with some of these practices.

So, the second dot point there the Department has produced some social stories, so in the image, the one on the left is just a snip from a page in the starting school social story. The one on the right is a snip from the starting preschool social story. So, the idea is they've already got some images inserted. You can replace these with images from around your own school if you're not able to. You know you can leave some of the images in if you feel they fit your context and the idea is that you can leave the parts of the text that are applicable to your school, or if you'd like to personalise part of the text as is not actually accurate for your school or preschool, you can edit it. These social stories are available in word document, they are available in PowerPoint, in book creator and also the Department's looking at producing some digital options but I don't have the details of that just yet. The third part of this resource package for the 2021 cohort is two recorded pieces of professional learning, so the first focuses on collaborative partnerships supporting effective transition to school and the second supporting a play based approach and finally some resources for families have been produced, so there's some podcasts as well as some animated videos. So, to access these resources, I'm not sure where they're going to end up sitting on the Department's web page. Try searching for transition or 2021 kindergarten cohort or email our early learning email there and by the time you're looking for them when this professional learning has been published, we will know where they are sitting.

OK, so now we're just going to have a very brief look at school transition planning.

OK, so essentially transition is whole school business, so this video is an interview of Lisa Wicks from The Entrance public school and she's talking to Donna Deehan the transition advisor about how her new school team approach transition planning. So, she talks about some of the challenges and some of the activities they did. So, you can either access the file of this video in the Microsoft team that Sheree mentioned at the beginning of the presentation, or if you wanted to pause the recording now and view the video in a new window.

OK, so Lisa spoke about her transition team. It's definitely whole school business and you definitely need a transition team. It's too much of a burden for one person to take sole responsibility for organising and implementing all the activities. So, this slide just gives you an indicator of some of the types of actions that the transition team might look at taking over the course of a year. It very much aligns with the principles that we offer, effective transition that we talked about at the beginning of the presentation.

Sheree Bell – I think one thing to just think about as well is you know with as far as the actions and the practices is really about how to enable sustainability and embed those within, kind of, you know, the school operations from your policy and guidelines and timelines and how they're going to support it, because it's great if you've got a bit of a transition champion. But having that team, as you said Kelly it is really important to really sustain those actions that you've put into place.

Kelly Birket – Absolutely, and we recommend the transition team developing some sort of record or document of their activities so that does become embedded practice in the school if not already, I've seen some great examples of annual sort of calendars of when everything happened, so that includes things like you know when admin staff are processing the enrolment forms, when contact is made with the families, when messages go out in the newsletter. Just all those little things that need to be organised and done at a particular time there noted on the calendar, and that means that if there's a staff turnover, new staff know what needs to happen when other schools develop a procedure or policy on transition and that serves the same purpose, ensuring that the practices become embedded and a sustained no matter what happens. Everybody knows that this term, this week. This is the activity that takes place to support transition.

OK, so one of things I mentioned before was the toolkit to support the implementation of the transition guidelines. One of the resources in there. I've taken a snip of it on the left here and the idea of this is a little bit of a continuum and just unpacks what you might be seeing or doing at the delivering, sustaining and growing or the excelling level. The idea of this resource is that you can use those indicators to inform your situational analysis when you're referring to the transition.

OK, so also keep in mind that transition planning needs to take a tailored approach. Consideration needs to be given to children and families who require a tailored and or individualised approach. I would just like you differentiate in the classroom for some children and families that is going to be need to possibly be some specific transition activities planned particularly for children with disability. So, I mentioned before the resource sheets that each of them deals with one of these equity groups. We unpack in Part two particular actions that you can take to support each of these groups.

OK, and so I guess the next step is to access the transition guidelines by the Department's web page and consider the content, this has very much been an overview, in this recording, we've looked at the principles of an effective transition. We've talked about what a successful transition looks like, and some of the equity groups that need to be taken into consideration, and I guess then the key thing is to consider how the guidelines and all this information presented in this recording will impact on your school planning and then to determine the next Step. If you're going to stay with us and access parts two, three, and four, we actually use a reflection scaffold. As we go through the two and three Sections we have tasks to complete sections of that and that will support your planning, but if you're not going to be accessing parts two, three, and four, I suggest at this point you just think about how the guidelines will impact on your school planning.

Sheree Bell – So, just as we come to the end of this recording we will just conclude with a few key points in some resources. Could you just move the slide on Kell, please?

So, in thinking about a strong and successful transition with thinking about respectful, trusting and supportive relationships are maintained among all those working with children and their families. Information about the children is well understood, shared and valued. Children have the opportunities to have their say about what is important to them. Processes are adapted in response to the local communities and individual children and families. When children and families who require additional support are identified early and support is planned and delivered through a collaborative approach.

There is some recommended reading that we've popped up on the screen there. Kelly mentioned earlier the CESE document, the transition to school so you can access that. There's also the continuity, of learning and the transition to school position paper, which Perry and Dockett have written there so that you can access those through the links on the screen. There is also another image there on the right, the kids matter transition matters that's no longer available on the website, but we have popped a copy of all of these documents that you can take a look at in the team that we mentioned, that I mentioned earlier in this recording. So, take a look at those if you want to have a little bit more reading around transition to school.

Kelly Birket – Great, thanks Sheree. A great collection that gives you a really broad understanding of current research on transition and recommendations. The position paper that was the development that was led by Charles Sturt Uni, really inspirational and it's sort of talking about best case scenario and it includes policy recommendations, but it's a great read and you can see that's where I have borrowed the image from.

Sheree Bell – Well it’s a good image. I think the continuity of learning one to what's good about that particular document is more stories are shared.

Kelly Birket – Yes definitely

Sheree Bell – It has links, which is really great about that one as well,

Kelly Birket – And from a range of different school contexts as well. So yes, helpful, no matter where your school is placed.

Sheree Bell – So, look that brings us to the end of this recording. We thank you for joining us. When you close this recording and return to my PL, you can launch the course evaluation. You may need to just refresh the page if it's showing that the recordings not yet completed, as a backup you will also be emailed the course evaluation by my PL, so if you can't get it to launch, that's OK. It's a short anonymous evaluation, it will really assist us to know if this professional learning is being affective and responsive to your needs. So, we encourage you to take the time to complete that and we thank you very much for joining us for this recording.

Kelly Birket – Yes, thanks Sheree. Looking forward to seeing you if you're able to join us for parts two, three and four.

End of transcript

Return to top of page Back to top