Transcript of Beginning school strong and successfully – Part 2
Sheree Bell – Early Learning Advisor Hello and welcome to beginning school Strong and Successfully Part 2 exploring effective transition practices.
I would like to begin by acknowledging and paying respects to the Biddegal people the traditional custodians of the land that I am on today I would like to also pay respect to the traditional custodians of the land you are joining us from today. I acknowledge the Biddegal peoples continuing connection to land, water and community. I would also like to pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders viewing this presentation. My name is Sheree Bell and I'm one of the Early Learning Advisors within the Early Learning Team and today I'm joined by my colleague Kelly.
Kelly Birket – Early Learning Advisor Hi everyone, my name is Kelly Birkett. I'm one of the Early Learning Advisors as well. I work with Sheree and if you want to contact us or you've got any questions, you can see the email there on the screen where you can get in touch with us.
Sheree Bell – So the course outcomes for today reflect upon and evaluate current transition practices. Consider principles of effective transition planning. Understand how community and individual child data can be used to inform transition planning and how a strengths-based tailored approach supports all children to experience a strong and successful transition to school. Develop knowledge of effective transition practices and the skill to identify and apply those which are appropriate to their own school context. Reflect upon how age-appropriate pedagogies in the kindergarten classroom supports continuity of learning. So, for today's session, this Part two of the course is particularly addressing those outcomes one to three.
The course materials and transition resource from this course a freely available to you. You can access the course materials and resources in Microsoft Teams. To open teams go into your portal and select Microsoft Office 365 and then select teams. Once you're in teams, go to the Early Learning and schools team and then select the statewide staffroom channel. In the files tab you can open the folder Beginning school strong and successfully PL. You can see from the images there where to go to.
Kelly Birket – Just a little point there as well, Sheree if you find that Early learning and schools team isn't an option for you, you can't see it, just email early learning. The email address is at the bottom on the right there and we will add you as a member.
Sheree Bell – Fantastic, thank you Kelly. So within the folder you'll find copies of the PowerPoint presentations that we are using with each of these recordings and it is handy to follow hyperlinks to the documents that we have referred to as well.
So just a bit of a course overview, so the beginning school strong and successfully part one. The focus for that was implementing the transition guidelines. This is Part 2, as we said before, we're exploring effective transition practices. Part three looks at implementing effective transition practices and Part four continuity of learning.
So I think Kelly is going to take us through principles of high-quality transition.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely thanks Sheree. OK so in Part one, we overviewed the principles of high-quality transition and you would have seen this image. It shows the alignment of the eight themes that support effective teaching and learning with the principles of the early years learning framework. If you haven't come across it before the early years learning framework uses mandatory curriculum for all early childhood education services. The principles reflect contemporary theories and research evidence concerning children's learning and early childhood pedagogy. So the text on the salmon pink colour background are the principles of the early years learning framework. And just like we talked about in part one, the circular image are the eight themes that CESE has identified as being significant and important for learning outcomes.
Sheree Bell – You can read more about those in the what works best in practice document that CESE have put out as well. Can't they Kell?
Kelly Birket – Absolutely, so they've actually got quite a little bit of a resource toolkit. Now what works best has been updated just now in 2020, so if you haven't gone back to that document in 2020, it is definitely worth having another little look. So what we'll do now in this section is we will just unpack each of those principles of the early years learning framework because they are also very relevant for high-quality transition practices.
OK, so the first of those are secure respectful reciprocal relationships, so we're talking about the relationships between children, parents, and educators. I've used the term educators there because we're referring to the staff, the teachers that are working in the early childhood education service as well as in the school. Many people are involved in a child's education and in their transition, so it's really important that the relationships between all those people are very strong and collaborative relationships. They are at the heart, successful transitions and improved learning outcomes. Investing in reciprocal relationships is a critical part of quality education. Relationships must be based on a foundation of respectful two-way communication is the focus on respecting stakeholders strengths, knowledge and existing connections within the community. So what that's referring to is school staff acknowledging and seeking out the information and the knowledge that the prior to school service has about the child and then using that information to support the child as they commence kindergarten. Relationships that move from surface contact to meaningful discussions and practices support children in their transition wellbeing and academic engagement. So a lot of schools have already established relationships with their local early childhood service and would know how important that relationship is and talking about transition.
OK, so firstly here's the CESE image, again showing the eight themes or key practices. Research has shown improved learning outcomes, so one of these themes is collaboration. Effective collaboration explicitly aims to improve practices and learning outcomes. Just as we just mentioned professional collaboration around transition allows for the sharing of knowledge about children, and for best practice to be identified and shared.
OK, so this slide is talking about collaborations with other professionals. A range of professionals might be involved in a child's life and the families life. Indeed their education and transition to school communication between these professionals and the school should be initiated to tap into the expertise and perspectives. So, for example, there might actually be a social worker who's been working with a family for a number of years and they would definitely have some very useful information about the family and child that the school can use to support the transition into school. Their insights can support transition and continuity across services and settings. Schools should seek out collaborations with other professionals to ensure that a child's prior learning is valued, their current needs are met and support for ongoing learning is concerted and consistent. So this is getting into the area of continuity of learning and we address this in the fourth part of this course. It basically by collaborating with other professionals you can ensure that the child continues their learning that in kindergarten there building on what they've already learned at home and in the early childhood service.
Sheree Bell – I think these collaborations, these professional collaborations are particularly important for those children transitioning who may be experiencing some kind of vulnerability or disability. It really just helps that communication for that little one, moving into Kindergarten.
Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely and other professionals that you might know develop a relationship, or, you know, seek out. They could include speech, occupational therapists, perhaps an early intervention support paediatrician, Aboriginal medical services physiotherapists. It might be a refugee support leader who actually works within the department. Depending on the child and family there could be any number of professionals involved in their life
Sheree Bell – And a lot of expertise to tap into.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely and you know if the child is attending an early childhood education service, I would probably say that would be your first stop because they would then be aware of the other, if there are other people working with the family and child and they will be able to help you with contact.
Like I said, the next principle of an effective transition is partnerships with families. So just like it's in the school excellence framework, it's very much an imported area. It's noted in there that how important family involvement is in a child's education. At the beginning of Part 1, we had those images of the clouds. We noted that families are likely to be experiencing a range of emotions as their child transitions into school. A Victorian study in 2015, actually found that families who are comfortable with their child's transition value conversations with trusted teachers both prior to and soon after starting school as well as school transition programs. But on the other hand, families who were less happy with their transition expressed concern about the lack of communication, including unclear process, and lack of personalised attention to their child's needs. So just looking at the dot points on the screen now, so as I've just alluded to, family involvement is an essential part of a successful transition. Successful transitions recognise the family as a child's first and most influential teachers. Orientation programs provided ideal opportunity connect with families and support them to become more active participants in their child's learning. Families who support their child during transition who have positive relationships with staff are less likely. Sorry likely to continue their and their child's positive engagement with school. Definitely, the transition period is the time to start developing those relationships. The older the child gets, the harder it is. Research tells us that there is an inextricably link between high family engagement and a child's academic success and wellbeing. Establishing connections with families, caregivers, and the community is especially important to support Aboriginal families. Actually, in the Third part of this course, we will look a little bit more closely at how you can support Aboriginal children and families in their transition.
Sheree Bell – I think working as partners with the families is just really crucial to having effective transitions. As you said Kell by working together as a kind of a whole community of children, families, educators and professionals, everyone can feel valued and you know sharing the goals to achieve those goals.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely, absolutely. It's really good for the children to know that you and the family are on the same page and that you're working together with the common goal of supporting the child.
Sheree Bell – For sure, it's that genuine partnership.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely. OK, so the next one we're going to look at is high expectation, so again, this is one of the key practices known to improve learning outcomes and high expectations, and equity is one of the principles of the early years learning framework. Effective transition to school practices are based on recognising and acknowledging the strengths of children, their families in the community and all who are involved in supporting the transition. High expectations are evident, with schools that reflect a sense that children and their families belong are competent and will achieve well. Teachers’ beliefs about their students influence how they teach and interact with them. This can affect students’ confidence and motivation, which in turn impacts learning and achievement.
OK, so moving on to the next principle. Respect for diversity. Diversity can be about Aboriginality, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, language, background ability, or many other individual differences. Showing respect for the many ways local people express and live, their culture is an important part of transition planning. All children and families require extra support at different times and are influenced and affected by the environments that surround them. So in Part 2 we oh sorry, a little bit later in this presentation we're going to look at collecting data about the community, which is really important to know what the challenges for the families are and what might be impacting on their child's transition into school. Inclusive policies and professional practices that actively address any barriers and challenge specific challenges specific to the child and family context will support transition for all children, especially children with disabilities, or those experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage.
Sheree Bell – I think this part again, Kelly really reinforces the value in our preschool or private school educators and school educators having that partnership. That communication, that collaboration, because they can really, you know, support each other with, contextual information.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely yes, these principles are actually all very much linked. Yes, they're all very, yes, sort of, they all feed into one another.
Sheree Bell – They certainly do.
Kelly Birket – OK. So the next principle of high-quality transition is ongoing learning and reflective practice. So this links to another one of the key practices proven to contribute to outcomes. The use of data to inform practice. So it's important schools collect and analyse rich and meaningful data to continually evaluate and modify transition practices. The use of data will result in effective tailored practices that support successful transitions in the school's unique context. In evaluating the practices feedback should be sought from children, families, school staff, early childhood education service staff, the community, and other stakeholders. So in relation to transition, you can look at the use of data in two ways. The first is the data you gather to know what to plan for transition, and the second is what's referred to on this slide. It's during or at the end of your transition program to evaluate the effectiveness of each of the transition practices.
Sheree Bell – That's an important point. Is looking at those practices and reflecting and evaluating, isn't it because you know there's no point implementing those practices if you're not seeing any benefit or they're only reaching a small number of children or families.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely you need to know if what the school doing is actually working. Otherwise, it might be a lot of effort and time for you know minimal
Sheree Bell – Impact.
Kelly Birket – Yeah, definitely so in the next section of this presentation. Actually, we go into a whole section on data because it is so critical to be able to reflect on what you're actually doing and is it meaningful and is it actually working? Otherwise, you know why are you continuing if a particular practice if it isn't meeting the needs of your school community. OK, so that is the fifth and the last principle of high-quality transition. I just want to mention this reflections scaffold, so, before you launch this recording, you would have launched a word document titled Beginning school strong and successfully reflection scaffold. So I hope you saved it to your computer because we're going to be using that to work on throughout this recording and recording three if not, that's fine. You can actually find a copy in the resource folder that Sheree mentioned earlier. In the early learning in schools, Microsoft team then you go into the statewide staff room, the files and then beginning school strong and Successful. If either of those methods fails you again, you can always email Early Learning and request a copy to be emailed to you. So the point of the scaffold is to support you through this course to apply what you're learning and to be able to then implement it in your own school setting, particularly the individual transition practices we're going to be talking about. So the image on the screen, the four steps on the blue background there, the steps of the reflection scaffold. There are, over the top of an image from the Centre for Education, Statistics, and Evaluation. Again, the what works best in practice, the additional resource published in 2020. The image is just there to show you how the reflection scaffold actually aligns with the suggested action planning process suggested by what works best.
OK. So hopefully you've got your copy of the reflection scaffold now saved on your computer. So what we're going to do is pause the recording, and I'm asking you to reflect upon and evaluate your school's current transition practices complete step one of the beginning school strong and successfully reflection scaffold now. This asks you some questions. Take a row in the table to list each transition practice and then just think about is it effective. So this is about what we were talking about before, you need to be reflecting to make sure your efforts are actually having an impact. Then how do you know if there is an impact? Then decide should the practice be continued, changed or stopped. Now that language continued changed or stopped actually comes from the what works best resource kit. If you're part of a school transition team, it might be more useful not to complete this task now, but to actually do it in cooperation with your other team members or stakeholders, because gaining more than one perspective of your current practices is very beneficial rather than one person doing it on their own. But if you are unfortunately working on your own on transition in your school, definitely have a look at this task now and then when you've completed the task, you can continue the recording.
OK, so that's that section. Sheree is now going to talk us through using data to inform transition planning.
Sheree Bell – Yes, so as Kelly mentioned this is one of the themes of the what works best scaffold, the image that Kelly showed you before. So we're just going to unpack that just a little bit more in relation to transition.
So when we are thinking about using data to inform planning we're looking at I guess three main ideas looking at collecting the data, gathering information about children, their families and community analysing that data. So reflecting on the data sources to identify the strengths, emerging needs and any potential challenges, and then using that data to plan so this data can be used to plan. Tailored transition practices which take advantage of the strengths and build on those, as well as being able to address any needs. So just like you know, teachers in a classroom and collecting data to know what to teach them, what to teach their class and determine any differentiation required. Transition practices must also be formed by information or data collected so that you can plan for your cohort that's coming to school. Schools need to collect data about the transitioning children so that they can tailor those practices to individual or group needs. We mentioned that before when there's particular children, we want to make sure that we are tailoring so that they feel and their families feel supported when they come to school.
Kelly Birket – Yes, it's interesting Sheree, that the transition at an Urban School where 95% of the children have attended preschool and perhaps 70% from a non-English speaking background will look very different to what's provided in a rural school in some of our rural community. Perhaps 100% of the children are English, have an English speaking background, but maybe due to lack of accessibility, only 30% have had the opportunity to attend preschool. These children require really different things in their transition to school.
Sheree Bell – Oh absolutely. Like the variety of context, the vast, diverse context that we have across our state with our schools definitely requires a tailored approach based on what's going to work best for the community or the cohort. We know that what works for one school doesn't work, as the same for another school. So I think this is where early childhood or private school educators, as well as our school educators, have the privilege I guess of knowing the community really well and being able to tap in and really target their support, and this data is only going to help that. So let's just have a look at a couple of different types of data that you might be looking to collect. So this image shows some of the most common methods of collecting information at a community and in an individual level. I guess the purpose of assembling this evidence together is to inform discussions among stakeholders and to inform the planning of the transition practices. I guess during the evaluation process as well. So we've got the qualitative data and the quantitative data listed up there and then there's some there that overlaps a little because they provide a little bit of each. So we're looking at sources of data and information that's going to include information about the child, the family, from early childhood education services and of course other professionals as well. So we'll go in and have a look at some more quantitative data. Which are assessments of school readiness.
So we'll start firstly with the Australian early development census data. So the AEDC data collects, collects from a community level, so it's a national census of early childhood development with the data collection taking place every three years. So the most recent data collection took place from that May to August in 2018. So we're looking for another collection. They'll be another collection next year then. So you can see on the slide the data that's collected is across five domains, the physical health and wellbeing. Social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication skills and general knowledge. Many of you as kindergarten teachers may have previously been involved in collecting this information using the early development instrument, which is essentially a questionnaire about each child.
So we will just explore this just a little bit more. So schools and communities are able to access data on children's development in their local area and see the strengths and vulnerabilities of children in their communities in comparison to the state and Australia. So this slide here shows the data for Gloucester you can see there's 13.7 per cent of children have a vulnerability in the physical domain compared to 8.5 per cent for New South Wales, whereas for the social domain, for example, there's 5.9 percent of children show vulnerability compared with 9.8 percent nationally. So using this data school may be able to look at or placing a greater emphasis on physical education lessons or planning a targeted physical program for kindergarten. This would then help support the children, get back on track developmentally, and to have greater success as they move through school. So this next table that's just popped up now is multiple strengths indicator, so it shows that for this particular community, there's 64.7 per cent of children have highly developed strengths, so these children are likely to be on track in all five of the AEDC domains and show strength across all AECD domains.
Kelly Birket – Thanks. Yes, so that's in comparison to only 57.5 per cent nationally, so it does show that generally these kids in this community are on track, but there is that little bit of a weakness in the physical domain, which is something that could be targeted in early kindergarten to support this cohort.
Sheree Bell – Yes, so it provide some I guess it captures that data for your community so it really is a valuable source of information.
Kelly Birket – Yes, definitely yes, it's a really good tool. It's really interesting
Sheree Bell – Yes, it is really interesting and there's lots of stuff on there actually and this is one we've put on the website up the top there. You can access some case studies so at aecd.gov.au/parents/school-stories these stories of actions that some schools have taken in response to their community data to support transition which could be really interesting to have a bit of a read of, see if there's anything that might be useful for you when you're planning your transition. So for example.
Kelly Birket – Yeah
Sheree Bell – Sorry Kelly, you were going to say something?
Kelly Birket – Just going to say the case studies really address a wide range of contexts. But yes, there might be one there that resonates with your community.
Sheree Bell – Oh, that's good. If they've got a lot there covering a variety of context, it makes it more valuable for people to go on it. Yes, more likely to have something that resonates. Yes, so a few examples that there are in the case studies is. There's some people who put into place some professional learning provided by teachers to develop and deliver strategies to enhance children's mental health and wellbeing. Publishing and distributing in the community of book about starting school aimed at those key domains where local children were most vulnerable.
Kelly Birket – Yes, so sorry to interrupt.
Sheree Bell – Go for it.
Kelly Birket – That particular book included information for families on supporting learning at home and suggesting particular play activities in the areas that the children were showing generally a weakness.
Sheree Bell – Oh fantastic, I haven't read that one so I'll have to go in and have a look at that. Sounds great. Some other examples are of schools engaging a speech therapist to address an identified vulnerability in the communication domain. A school partnering with the community group to run a supported play group on site to address the vulnerability in children's communication and general knowledge. I think supported playgroups are a really fantastic way to engage and communicate and build relationships and partnerships with families and children prior to school.
Kelly Birket – Yes, definitely. We're going to have a close look at supported playgroups in part three. Just how to set one up and what sorts of activities you might do and the benefits. So if you're interested in that, just hold on. Yes, we'll get to that very soon.
Sheree Bell – Fantastic, so the AECD data can really guide schools as they plan for the needs of children transitioning to their school as they collaborate with local early childhood services, families and the community.
So at this point we might just take a moment to pause and reflect on that first lot of data we talked about. The AECD data and we might ask you to open in a new tab or window and enter in the URL at the top there aecd.gov.au/data/data-explorer. So once you've got that up, you can go into the search bar and locate your school community by typing that in, then you can go and browse the data to identify any significant information. For example, you might be looking at what are the strengths and vulnerabilities of the children in the community, you might be looking at how does your particular community compare across NSW or the Australian average? What factors may be contributing to the percentage of children who are developmentally vulnerable in the community and plenty more. Then you can scroll down and open up the community profile, you can access a PDF document and in this you will find information for three collection periods related to data, such as how many children attended, play group or daycare, or preschool, what percentage of children have a non-English speaking background. So there really is a lot of information you can unpack there to learn more about children coming into your school.
Kelly Birket – That was actually quite interesting having the three collect the three most recent collection periods shown because you can actually see if the community is changing. I know my own community, it was interesting to note that the 2012 collection picked up there were 25 per cent of children from a non-English speaking background. Whereas the most recent one actually picked up 50 per cent now. That's definitely information that a school can use on the changing demographic of the community.
Sheree Bell – Absolutely you can look for changes, but I guess also things that are staying the same as well where it is consistent. I think both lots of data are very interesting and really help show change overtime, or trend data which can be very helpful when planning for transition to school.
Kelly Birket – Definitely I know data to target community services and also early childhood education services use the data to inform their curriculum to know what areas their children are more vulnerable in and to provide additional support and focus in those areas.
Sheree Bell – So again, it's that bringing forward that I guess the support that both the early childhood or provider, school services educators, and kindergarten educators can really share to really support the children and families coming into school.
Kelly Birket – Yes, definitely.
Sheree Bell – So we'll have a look at another data source, which is the best start kindergarten assessment. So, while the transition to school statement collects data on the child before they commence, best start data collects information after they commence school. So as you know, best start Kindergarten assessment is a mandatory one on one assessment designed to identify each child's literacy and numeracy skills at the beginning of kindergarten. It provides an opportunity for kindergarten teachers to spend a bit of time discovering what each child can do in both of those areas of literacy and numeracy and gives them that opportunity to plan for each child coming to school to be supported, building on their knowledge and skills, and challenging their learning. It's designed to provide teachers with that information about literacy and numeracy abilities. See what it is that they're already bringing with them to school so that they can plan effective teaching and learning programs that cater for the different needs right from those first days of kindergarten.
Kelly Birket – Yes, and that then supports the continuity of learning of the child, which, again, like I said before, we will talk about in Part four quite a lot.
Sheree Bell – Absolutely, there's only about six weeks break in between coming from preschool or prior to school service into kindergarten, or even the home into kindergarten so not much changes in that time, being able to capture and understand that continuity of learning is a very important part of transition to school.
Kelly Birket – Yes.
Sheree Bell – So with the best start kindergarten assessment as we said, it really focuses on those literacy and numeracy skills, but some of the things that best start doesn't tell you, is how much the little one might miss dad and how sad and withdrawn this little one is on Mondays. What the favourite part of preschool was and was it playing with a friend, with their friends. But I'm very empathetic and like to help other children. I need extra help to get started with an activity. I love role playing, pretending to be someone different. I've worked with the speech therapist for the last two years. How much my social skills have improved in the last year, but I still have some way to go. I'm super curious and want to know how machines work. I have trouble retaining what you say, but if you have pictures to remind me, I'm OK. So I think it's important to think about the holistic development because the best start does collect great data on literacy and numeracy, but it's quite a narrow scope.
Kelly Birket – Yes, definitely. So the reason we've got these, this image here is to show and highlight that best start is not a holistic picture of the child. You're going to need to refer to other data sources. You're going to need to talk to the family, the child and collect information, other types of information to get the full picture of the child.
Sheree Bell – Absolutely, and I think this next one is that we're going to show which is the transition to school statement, which I mentioned just before. But we're going to have a little bit more of a look at that and the transition to school statement it is something that early childhood education services complete at the end of the preschool year and with the parents permission, they pass them onto the school that the child will be attending. So you can see that image of the statement on the screen there if you haven't before, please check it out on the website at the bottom. The statement was developed by the early childhood education directorate which is part of the Department of Education to assist early childhood educators. Parents and carers and primary school teachers to better understand a child and how to best support their transition from that early childhood education space into the school space. The idea is that it provides the receiving teacher, the kindergarten teacher and the school with holistic information about the child. It's based on the five learning outcomes of the early years learning framework and addresses things like the social and emotional development dispositions towards learning, communication skills and highlights where any additional learning support may be required.
Kelly Birket – In a way, it red flags. Perhaps the family might not have passed on some critical information about their child transition to school statement will red flag whether the school or teacher needs to inquire about a child's learning.
Sheree Bell – Yes absolutely, and I think kind of you know, the passing of this information is really crucial. You know with parents permission of course. Again that communication between the early childhood service and the school is really important, particularly in addressing any of the information provided in these transition to school statements.
Kelly Birket – Yes, and what I really like about it is there's a little section on the second page where the educator asks the child about their perceptions of their new school. Have they visited, who they go with, what would they like to know about their school. This provides additional data for the school about things that they might include in their orientation programs. I think it's just nice to include the child's voice.
Sheree Bell – Absolutely Kell I think everything we do the early years learning framework, our syllabus documents our department strategic plan. It's all about ensuring our children have a voice and that they feel known and valued and cared for and by providing that space for them to share their voice is really important.
Kelly Birket – Yes, definitely. The Department is actually currently developing some online professional learning related to completing the statements as well as receiving them and interpreting the information. So I can't give you the title of the professional learning, but if you go into my PL. and browse learning and type in either transition to school or just transition or maybe even transition to school statement any of the courses will come up. If they don't come up, just try back again in another week. It might be that they haven't been published yet, but they are definitely under development as we record this. So yes, that's a great way if you want to find out more information. Also on the department's website if you search for transition to school statement, you will come across quite a bit of information.
Sheree Bell – That'll be great PL for our early childhood educators to understand its purpose a little more and how to write and read and analyse that information. It would be very valuable. Great, thanks for that kell.
Kelly Birket – So sorry, just one more thing. If you are new at school and you haven't actually seen these statements before, or they have never made it through to you it's definitely worth following up with your local early childhood education services and just say to them, are you using this statement? They might already be passing on written information to you, but perhaps the statement format might be more useful, but definitely inquire about it.
Sheree Bell – Yeah, absolutely. So the transition of school statement really facilitates the sharing of that information, so as Kell said, you know, check in with your early childhood or preschool service and vice versa. Check in with the school about that. The benefits of using and reading the transition to school statement is that it supports the schools that where the children are going by providing information about the current skills, knowledge and the dispositions for learning. It alerts the school to any individual circumstances they may need to know. As Kelly mentioned before, there may be some red flags there that you might be able to look into further. Provides information to inform planning decision linked to children's interests and strengths. Provides information to inform perhaps the formation of classes and enables early identification of children who might require, who will require some extra support. Now look, there are so many benefits there it's not the be all and end all and this is one data collection that is really helpful for the kindergarten teacher. How to look into a little bit more little bit of a snapshot of the children that are coming to their class. So again that relationship. If you've got that relationship with your early childhood service and between the early childhood service and the school, you could definitely then look into maybe suggest and influence the content that's going to be the most useful as you're trying to learn a little bit more about these children coming to your class.
Kelly Birket – Yes, that's right. Sheree, the transition to school statement with alongside the best start kindergarten assessment together give you a really good picture of the child.
Sheree Bell – Yes, multiple task data sources there creating a great picture for sure Kelly, absolutely. So CESE is a valuation of the transition to school statement. We just pulled out a couple of statistics here to share. 75 per cent of teachers agreed that they felt better informed about the preferred ways of learning for children with the statement than those that came without a statement. Around 80 per cent of school teachers reported feeling better able to respond to the learning needs of the children with a statement compared to those without. Just over 90 per cent of school teachers agreed that they felt better informed about the strengths and interests of their children with a statement compared to the children without a statement. So you know, there's a lot of positive feedback there from Teachers and how they felt that the transition to school statement supported them to respond to the learning needs of their class. So if you haven't seen it, definitely check it out.
So we'll just have a quick look at a bit of a sample from a completed transition to school statement. You can have a little bit of a look. This example on the screen here is in relation to learning outcome one of the early years learning framework, which is around a sense of identity. You'll note that you know some of the information in here won't be picked up in best start kindergarten assessment, so you can gather that from the transition to school statement. Like Kelly said, using the two data sources together will really help create a clear picture. So we've just put a little example there for this outcome one on the screen for you to have a bit of a look at just now, but in the resource folder in teams, Kelly has kindly loaded in an example of an entire statement, which you may like to go and have a little bit of a look at across all of the five outcomes. Plus the section where children include their voice into the statement as well.
So at this point I think we will take a pause and reflect upon and evaluate the information that we just heard about the AEDC data the best start kindergarten assessment in the transition to school and how to think of and evaluate the information that your school collects about the transitioning of children families and then how that data is actually used. So if you go to your beginning school, strong and successfully reflection scaffold, step two looks at the gathering and analysing of data to identify needs. Sorry Kell what were you going to say
Kelly Birket – I was just going say in addition we just focused on a couple of sources of information but definitely when you do this step of the scaffold, include the other sources of data and information you collect the conversations, the visits you have to services where you know you have interviews, perhaps with the staff there, surveys, just all the different types of information that you do use.
Sheree Bell – Yes, it's I guess creating that nice big broad picture from all of the data sources.
Kelly Birket – Yes, that's right.
Sheree Bell – OK. So we'll have a look now at strengths-based tailored support.
Kelly Birket – Thank Sheree. In this section of the presentation we're going to outline some of the effective transition practices for children and families who might require a differentiated or a tailored approach. There are general practices which will support everyone, but there's also specific tailored things that you can be doing, and I think we've just got a quote coming up. Evidence related to children from backgrounds described as disadvantaged or complex indicates that a positive start to school is instrumental in promoting positive life trajectories. It is also the case that these children may experience a more problematic transition to school than their advantaged peers. High expectations for all children and families coupled with recognition of the strengths and funds of Knowledge, they bring a cornerstones of effective transition to school approaches regardless of their backgrounds of those involved. So this section is going to focus on the message that strong transitions are important for all children, but there particularly critical for those children who may be at risk of not transitioning smoothly. The quotes on the screen there actually they come from Dockett and Perry, who are the key leading researchers on transition to school in Australia. So the department has identified key, what they call equity groups of children who may require a differentiated or a tailored approach. So this first group here is children with disability and support needs, so I'm going to read through the dot points which give some tips on supporting these children, so obviously that as we've mentioned how handy the transition to school statement is, you need to identify as early as possible the children who may need additional support, and you know how long things take in the Department to get funding in place to get adjustments organised. The earlier you can do that, the better. Get to know the child strengths and needs by gathering information and the documentation reports from the family and any services currently working with them. Obviously you need to do this with parental consent. Again, another reason why it's really important to have a good strong relationship with the family because you want them to cooperate and support you to gather as much information as you can. Visit the child in their early childhood education or intervention setting to observe their behaviours, engagement and learning styles, again, with prior approval from the family. It's really important for these kids with a disability to form a transition team that's going to support the child and the family. Obviously in this team you're going to need to include the schools learning support team, whether it's the class teacher or the counsellor, that would depend on your schools staffing. So on the bottom of the screen there you can say this is a little snip from our website. The reason I put it there is if you are working with a family of a child with a disability it is a good place if they don't already know about it. The section on the raising children website for families about starting primary school is really useful with lots of good information for families.
Kelly Birket – Ok, so continuing on supporting children with disability and support needs. The first suggestion or tip here is to collaboratively develop an individualised transition support plan. So a child might need additional, maybe perhaps individual, guided school visits. Start developing their individual education plan for when they start trans school. It's really important that before the child starts, all staff have the necessary additional training they might need to support that child in the kindergarten classroom. You've also got a role in ensuring that the family knows about and applies for any community support services and also any particular support that might be available to them through the Department. That last dot point talks about supporting timely application for additional learning and support provisions, so this includes obviously the access request process and then just again just as agreed to by the family. Because, you know, you can't be pursuing any of these things without the families consent. The images there are from what was previously early childhood intervention Australia. They are now known as Reimagine Australia on their website. They have a section for families related to transition for children with a disability as well. Again it's a really great site and the image on the right is actually a little booklet that can be downloaded from their website and it's very useful it targeting parents and families. It’s definitely worth checking their families have access to that.
OK, so the next group of children who might require a little bit of a differentiated tailored approach. High potential and gifted children. It's really interesting to note that research has shown that for high potential and gifted children, the gaining of knowledge is a very high concern for them when starting school. Generally for children, a concern is making friends and knowing what the rules are. But for these children it is the gaining of knowledge. Just like with your children with disability, it's important to refer the child to the learning, support teacher and or counsellor as soon as possible to make an assessment of their specific needs. Be aware that the child might underachieve disengage, be unsettled, or disruptive if they're not challenged academically. In class, as for anyone requiring extension, provide open ended learning experiences as well as opportunities for the child to work independently on projects of interest which extend their learning. Again, ensure teachers have the necessary skills to support these children, so this is a very much a snapshot if you want to read further the Department's policy has got advice and also the second document, pardon me, there noted if you follow that URL is listed effective support strategies for high potential and gifted children.
Sheree Bell – Well that research information you provided Kelly is really interesting, isn't it? About the gaining of knowledge, being of high concern for these children, it's again so important to know and hear and understand the children's voices and listen to their concerns and thoughts about transitioning to school.
Kelly Birket – Yes, for sure. There's actually quite a few interesting stories I've heard of children actually reading before they commence school, but then when they commence school because the teacher wasn't aware of that because obviously that information was not pass on the children actually stop reading, they chose not to show their reading skills because they want to be like everyone else and learning their single letters and sounds so that the under achievement is definitely something to watch for and then those kids who aren't reading but when they get to school and they want to. They expect to learn to read on the first day. That's the priority and then get very disillusioned when they don't. It’s interesting.
Sheree Bell – So it's a very complex jobs of the kindergarten teacher, isn't it? You know such a range of children coming into their classrooms.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely OK, so the next group of children and families who may require a tailored approach, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. So as I mentioned before. These children definitely need consideration of their particular needs and what's going to help them to settle into school well. The Departments Aboriginal education policy states the Department will improve lifelong learning pathways for Aboriginal learners. This will include transitions from home to school. This is the department's policy so it's really important that as department employees we support that statement and we can do that by promoting cultural competence amongst staff. So if you haven't come across it before, cultural competence is much more than an awareness of cultural differences. It's the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures. Cultural competence encompasses being aware of ones own worldview. Developing positive attitudes toward cultural differences, gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and developing skills for communication and interaction across cultures. OK, I'm back to the dot points on the slide. The second point says prioritising and supporting relationships with Aboriginal children, families and the community. I've used the language here. It says prioritising, but I've actually read something that say that this is one of the most crucial things to support the child to settle into school. Another strategy to support the education policy statement is employing and valuing aboriginal staff, inviting family members to spend time in the new setting with their child. So this is informal time. Yes, not having to have a lot of formal helping that you know nine o'clock language rotations, but just informal. Involvement in the classroom activities ensuring transition practices are responsive, inflexible, and encourage children and their families to participate. Ensuring the school environment says if you are Aboriginal you belong here. So this is all about the visual part of the school and so for families and children to actually see their culture reflected in the school environment. Also you need to keep in mind that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures is across curriculum priority and so should be addressed in each learning area in the kindergarten curriculum.
Sheree Bell – Yes, cultural competence and supporting our aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children is definitely it's everyone's business. Like you said Kelly, it's in the Department that Aboriginal education policy. It is part of everything we do.
Kelly Birket – Yes, if you're organising activities or events then you find that if you look at your data and you notice that generally your Aboriginal families aren't attending, it's not enough to say they did not come. What you need to do is to look at what you were providing and the communication around the event and perhaps they need to be changed to be more responsive to what you know the families want I'm not saying it very well. You might need to look at what you're doing because maybe their families don't feel able to come in. Maybe they're not comfortable, or they don't feel that that particular activity or event is inclusive of them, or that they are part of the school community. So it's a hard mindset to get into but rather than saying they don't come, you need to look at well, what do we need to do to ensure they come
Sheree Bell – And I think this is where the Aboriginal education teams at some of the regional officers and even the Parramatta office across New South Wales. The team are so amazing and they are more than happy to support schools to support their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families to make sure that it is inclusive. I feel like they are represented in the school.
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Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely.
Sheree Bell – Access them if you haven't already.
Kelly Birket – Yes we want the Aboriginal children to feel strong and proud in their cultural identity because they need that for their wellbeing and then be able to thrive in the school setting. You might have come across a TV series. I can't remember if it's ABC or SBS. It's called little J and Big Cous it was actually developed to provide Aboriginal children with a sneak peek into the world of school. Yes, definitely worth a little look and also it is something perhaps you could suggest families get their children to watch if not already, or perhaps in kindergarten, or you might want to access some of those recordings and there's actually curriculum materials that go along with the series, so that's called little J and Big Cous.
OK, so actually Sheree just mentioned our Aboriginal support team and the Department I'm at the top of the screen there. There's a link to an interview, Tracy, who's an Aboriginal community liaison officer, and Stacy Parry an early years advisor with the Aboriginal education team are discussing the young black and ready transition program. This is a program which operates on the Central Coast and targets Aboriginal, family and families and children's to support children to support their transition into school. If this sounds of interest to you, pause the recording and you can follow that link and yes, it's a very interesting interview. At the bottom there are three resources that will also support you with additional reading. Strategies are a lot of background information, but all focused on supporting Aboriginal children to transition successfully into school.
Sheree Bell – Yes, that snaicc, the SNAICC website has some great resources absolutely.
Kelly Birket – They do, they do. OK, so another group, equity group that need to be considered. Our children from diverse cultural backgrounds, including those from a refugee background just like across the rest of your school. You're ensuring materials and information are in home languages. So this is why you know your data collection is so important. You need to know what the majority, the predominant home languages. You need to ensure rather than assume relevant information and materials provided are understood by families. Ensure that any materials or activities reflect the cultural diversity of the school community. You've got a bit of a role in supporting families to understand and navigate the complex school system. We are a bureaucracy, and if you've grown up in the education system it's all fine, but if you, particularly, if you've not had any experience of the public school system, some of the forms and processes can be a little confusing and obviously, like as always, respect and value home language and culture. The Resource book shown there is very good general information. It's not specifically related to transition, but it gives you some really good information and tips for working with children and families from diverse cultural backgrounds, it is appropriate for people working in early childhood services or schools. Really easy to read, but some great ideas in there.
Sheree Bell – I think it's probably a good point also to mention Kelly, the multicultural education team who have, you know, experts in supporting newly arrived people newly arrived to Australia, EALD, refugee families. So there are a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise, so definitely tap into them as well if you haven't already.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely, absolutely. Actually on the next slide I've got the website and the details of the telephone interpreting service, so you can use that for free. It takes a little bit of admin to set it up, but then you can actually book and use that to communicate with families. So continuing on strategies to support children from diverse cultural backgrounds. Obviously I've seen it in action and some really great ways in schools utilising bilingual staff, parent volunteers and or as I said, the translation service. I mean obviously, just like with all your families you need to be flexible, and offer parents the opportunity to bring a trusted friend or relative to orientation, visits or meetings. Again, just like with the kids with disability find out about resources and contacts. Contacts are available to support families and also this is really important. Be aware that children from refugee background may have physical or health issues and be impacted by extreme stress and or trauma.
Sheree Bell – Again, this is really highlighting. How crucial it is to foster positive and inclusive relationships between the school, the families and the children transitioning into school.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely. OK, so we've got a bit of a reflection task now so just pause you recording and consider your school community. So we have just discussed the identified equity groups which may require a differentiated or tailored transition practices to meet their needs. Do any of the incoming children or groups require differentiated or tailored transitions support, and if so what and how can this be provided? Other groups that we haven't touched on here that you might like to consider are those living in low SES areas, children with anxiety is definitely a growing group. Your schools current transition practices might have actually already developed as a result of your school community, so as you reflect, just think about what you're doing and is this actually you know in a response already to the demographics and the needs of your community. OK, so then, when you finish that reflection, I'm just going to start the recording again.
So for further information on these identified equity groups the Department has produced some information sheets. Some of the information I've just covered is in these information sheets, but there's also a little bit more detail and you can see from the image there there's a lot more resources referred to and hyperlinks of additional documents. These are available in our teams’ folder, but also you can go to the Early Learning web page on the Department's website. You need to type in early learning. You don't want to go to the early childhood education Directory, these are within Early Learning and then when you're there, go into the transition page and you'll find these resources. Listed there are the six different information sheets.
Sheree Bell – How fantastic Kelly, all those links to resources to support thinking about and what to put in place the transition. That's wonderful.
Kelly Birket – Yes, and hopefully people and schools can find the sheets that relate to their demographic and what they need and read that information and take things further. So that actually wraps up this Part 2 of the course. Thanks for joining us again, there's our email address if you want to have any communication or you need help, you could email Sheree or myself via that email address and I just want to say thank you for joining us and I am looking forward to getting together again for part three.
Sheree Bell – Thanks everyone
Kelly Birket – Great thanks Sheree.
Sheree Bell – Thanks Kelly.
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