Transcript of Transition to school statement – Part 1
Jacqui Ward – Early Learning Coordinator
Kelly Birket – Early Learning Advisor
Jacqui Ward – Welcome to today's presentation, the transition to school statement, part one, supporting a continuity of learning. My name is Jacqui Ward and I am the Early Learning Coordinator with the Department of Education and I'm here with my colleague, Kelly.
Kelly Birket – Hi everybody, my name is Kelly Birkett. I'm one of the Early Learning advisers with the Department.
Jacqui Ward – We're excited today to talk you through this session on the transition to school statement. First of all, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we all meet today, and being that this is a recorded presentation, that's many lands across our state, and I would like to acknowledge Elders both past and present, and any Aboriginal people with us today. And we've got some contact details there if you find that you've got any questions based on the presentation today. If you would like to reach out. You can contact the Early Learning Team who support schools in the transition to school space or the early childhood education policy team who support early childhood services.
Course outcomes today, we're looking at learners will develop a shared understanding of the links between the Early Years Learning Framework and the school curriculum. Analyse how sharing information across the early childhood and school sectors supports continuity of learning and reflect on how the transition to school statement informs teaching and learning.
Kelly Birket – Thanks Jacqui and I just want to add at this point that the audience of this professional learning is both educators in the early childhood education sector, as well as school staff. Throughout the presentation we’ll refer to the staff who work in early childhood settings as early childhood educators and we’ll refer to those in the schools as school staff.
Jacqui Ward – Awesome, thanks Kelly and definitely this presentation is focused in on helping to support those connections between early childhood in schools, so hopefully everyone will get a bit of benefit out of both. In this course we've got, we've split it into two parts, which the first ones talking about broadly about transition, the importance of transition to support a successful start to school, talking about how the transition to school statement supports transition practices, particularly around continuity of learning. If we share some information as educators and teachers from one setting to the next, we are really setting children up to experience success, particularly when we share information about what works for them in that teaching and learning practices. So we're including some information in this as to how the Early Year’s Learning Framework and Early Stage One syllabus documents align. So unpacking what, what's the connection there and showing that making the learning visible across the continuum of education and looking at that importance of collaboration to support each child's transition to school. Again, children benefit greatly from a positive transition and we are all important players in making sure that happens. The second part of the course focuses more on using the transition to school statement. So for early childhood educators, what sort of information is rich and meaningful to put in there and what sort of information? How is that information going to be used by the school teachers and supporting transition as a school teacher, how to use that information to get the best information out of it and how to make sure that it’s informing teaching and learning from the first days and weeks and that full year of starting school.
Kelly Birket – Thanks Jacqui and also for your information, after you finish this presentation and you close it, you'll return to MyPL and then you'll be able to launch a copy of the PDF of this presentation. You'll find that handy because there's hyperlinks throughout the presentation, as well as the two email addresses we just showed you. You will be able to select on them to send a message easily and you'll also notice in MyPL there's a few support documents, for example the, a copy of the template of the statement, the educator’s guide. So yes, after you finish the, this presentation, you'll be able to see what you, what documents you are able to launch.
Jacqui Ward – OK, so setting the scene for those who are new to the transition to school statement, so maybe you've never looked at it before, or perhaps it's been a while since you've engaged with it. We thought we'd unpack a little bit, it's purpose and background, and the point of filling in that information because obviously it does take time, for both audiences to early childhood educators to fill it in and for teachers to look at it. And when we do provide that information in a meaningful way, it is a key piece of the puzzle in effective transition practices. So the transition to school statement is a written document which scaffolds and facilitates the sharing information, sorry, about a child moving from early childhood education service into kindergarten. The statement is soon to be digital and online, so that will be facilitated, really easy way of sharing that information directly with schools. The statement complements other transition practices, so it's not the only thing that you're going to be doing to support a strong start to school for children, but it's a great piece of the puzzle. The statement facilitates that strong successful start to school, specifically by facilitating and supporting that continuity of learning. And again, I think continuity of learning is one of those statements that we sort of gloss over and not necessarily understand, but if we think about it from the point of view of, if I'm starting school with some information from my early childhood educators who know me so well and know what practices work to support my well being and social and emotional development, they know where I'm up to in terms of my literacy and numeracy skill development because that's happening prior to school, they know all sorts of information that I know about my cultural and identity, my cultural understanding and identity. They know information about what I know about things like, areas of interest, sustainability, or, you know, dinosaurs or other interests that, that children have. And most importantly, there's a section in there that talks about the teaching strategies that were effective in that early childhood space, and they could be used in that school setting, therefore facilitating that child to feel like they're known, valued and cared for. And also, you know, supporting teachers in schools to know what works for that child to minimise behaviour issues and to support, you know an awareness I guess of any areas where a child might need some additional support, so that early intervention of any challenges or anything like that, so it's a really important piece.
So, how that transition to school statement works is that early childhood educators complete the statement, summarising a child’s strengths, interests and approaches to learning. And as I said, the teaching strategies that were effective and there isn't a set time to do that, and I would really encourage early childhood educators to have a think about when's the best and optimal time to do that. I think if we fill it in too early, we might be, you know, not allowing the child to fully develop in that, you know, last period of time before they go to school. If we fill it in too late, schools may have already, you know, used other statements to do that, so it's important I think for us to connect with schools to know what's happening in our local area and how they're using the statements and when's the best time for them to receive them. Really important in that middle box there that we have parent consent to share the information in the statement to the school. Where they’ll be attending, and that's not a conversation that happens just at the end when you're ready to share the statement. It's a conversation that needs to start really early I think in that year when that child is in the year prior to attending school, that conversations are had with families about the importance of the statement and why the information that is shared with the school is so pivotal. So again, there's lots of conversations around that, and I think you know best practice would be that you'd share the information with families first, before you shared it with the schools. But that's kind of a nice important step in the middle and then school staff will receive that information to identify children who might require some additional support to inform their transition practices, particularly some differentiated approaches for different children and families, and to plan curriculum, design, delivery and design. So using that information and hopefully there's an opportunity on both sides as I said to connect. So the early childhood connect with schools to say, when is the best time to find this information? You know, when, when is the best helpful and again with schools you know there's an opportunity to connect even once the child's actually started school if there's information in there that a teacher finds, you know it would be great to unpack a little bit more. There's an opportunity to reach out and connect with the early childhood service. So it's really about you know, those strong collaborative partnerships with early childhood and schools as well.
Kelly Birket – Yes, and Jacqui some schools have already got relationships with their local early childhood services and there's already a system in place whether you know their statements are emailed or posted or passed on via the child's parent or carer, and the school has a system for receiving those and then ensuring the people who need to read one, particularly, you know, a child's kindergarten teacher, receives a statement in a timely manner to be able to use the information.
Jacqui Ward – Definitely and again it makes Sense if a local school you know is thinking about when they when they best use those statements to, to receive them collectively in the one group from local early childhood services as well, that makes it a little bit easier as well.
Kelly Birket – Yes, for sure, so we'll talk a little bit more about that towards the end of the presentation just about that collaboration to ensure that the statements are used as well as possible.
Jacqui Ward – So then we've also got the resources to support the transition to school statement, so there's currently a version that you can fill in electronically and we're moving towards a digital version of that which will be automatically shared with schools. But there's also the educators guide, so that's for both audiences for early childhood educators and school audiences, got some really good information in there as to why use this statement? What sort of content is important to put in there and for the school audiences it’s got some great links to show how the information in there links to the school curriculum as well. And of course, there's the important authorisation there as well to seek that permission to share information with family, sorry from families, to share information with the school.
Kelly Birket – yes, and the URL at the bottom of the screen there is the link to the section on the department's website where you could download these three documents as well as read a little bit more information about them. The actual statement itself, the template, so the image on the left that's in the form of an editable PDF. I do know that some services will print the hard copies and then fill them in by hand, and while other services will choose to type the information in and save it as an electronic copy.
Jacqui Ward – And the statement is actually going digital as well, so you'll be able to complete it all online.
Kelly Birket – Yeah, absolutely. And then, like you said Jacqui, then with a simple submit button, so the early childhood service would select the school that the child will be attending and they just click the button and the statement will go automatically to the school.
Jacqui Ward – Which will be very efficient.
Kelly Birket – It will be, OK.
Jacqui Ward – So some information coming up next which is directly from the Educators Guide, again, it's the idea that there's, we know that the learning, the curriculum and pedagogy is quite different in the preschool programs or early childhood programs to the Early Stage One curriculum. So broadly in the early childhood it's, you know, focused in on that experiential learning, play based learning, investigations, project work, all sorts of different things that show subject areas in a more integrated way. And in school there's a more of a focus on delineating the difference between those content areas or key learning areas, so maths, you know, content is considered separate to English and you know not always, but there's integration as well, but there's quite a difference I guess in the way that those, you know, the program is viewed and the way that it's shaped more child centred in the early childhood service and content centred in the school space and so obviously there's an opportunity there to sort of share information across when there is a connection. So the intent of the statement is to make that, that it is immediate practical value to kindergarten teachers capturing the experiences and expertise of early childhood educators in a way that they can use to provide continuity of learning for each child. So this is where it's really, really important and again, I guess, the impetus for an early childhood teacher is to make sure they're sharing the information that expertise that they have in the school space. In the transition to school period early childhood educators and kindergarten teachers need to be able to understand where the child is coming from and where, where they're likely to enter the school curriculum. So that idea that school teachers also recognise the funds of knowledge that children bring with them. So that's what the transition to school statement is intended to support. Again, not meant to be all, and end all of all of those connections, but an important key piece.
So, what opportunities does this the statement offer? So we've got, you know, on the right hand side, it's an opportunity for that a little bit of I guess you know, push up curriculum into that school space for educators completing this statement to celebrate the child's learning and development, that distance travelled while attending the service, share their expertise and knowledge to support the child’s smooth start to kindergarten, and again, strategies that worked for that child, and the process of information sharing between family, school and service. So it's a great way to connect all the stakeholders in that space to show that we're not only supporting children in their journey of continuity of learning, but we're also demonstrating to families that we’re connected and we're supporting their child. So it's a great opportunity to do that. For school teachers, using the statement is an opportunity to receive supplementary information about a child, you know, early assessments are done on children in kindergarten, and this is an opportunity to have a fuller, richer picture of children from that early stage and knowing that knowledge and skills that the child brings to school. Children are not blank slates when they come to school. They've done a lot of prior learning, both at home and possibly in an early childhood service. And it also supports them to draw an effective strategies for individualised support, so that differentiated approach in teaching in kindergarten, which will make all the difference. Also for children to feel like they belong in that space because they are known and they are challenged because there is a recognition that they already know quite a bit of information about different things and they already have quite a lot of skills. So it's a real time saver I think for school teachers as well.
And if we think about what works best, which is, you know, evidence-based practice of what works best, mainly focused in the school space but we can see some strong connections to the Early Years Learning Framework there as well in terms of high expectations and collaboration, all sorts of things are focusing on well being. There's lots of connections there and it's also specifically, from a school's point of view, that we're using, that schools are using, data to inform practice. So this is one of the sources of data that's really important for schools to consider. And again, if we think about it from the early childhood space, it's also, you know, a great record I guess of, you know, the progress that a child is made in terms of the learning outcomes as well. So it's kind of meeting off on requirements in both spaces as we’ll talk about a little bit further.
Kelly Birket – Yes, OK, thanks Jacqui. So well just briefly now look at the evidence base for transition generally, as well as, the use of a statement to collaborate and to pass on information.
OK, so the importance of a positive transition to school experience has been consistently emphasised in research around the world. In 2016, the department published a review, so it was through the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, and it was a review of the research related to transition, and these are three of the key points that the review noted. Like I just mentioned, that there's a large body of national, and international evidence that supports the critical importance of a positive start to school for all children. Research positions a positive start to school as an element of future social, educational and economic success with the benefits of a quality transition persisting overtime. And finally, 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 disadvantages. So if you want to read that whole report, just follow the link there under the snip of the document and you will be able to access it. So we know that transition is absolutely critical for these kids as they start school and what we're advocating is that the transition to school statement is a really highly effective practice to support that transition.
OK, so this report, The Starting Strong Five report was published by the International Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, in relation to transition. It makes these statements, quality transitions should be well prepared and child centred, managed by trained staff collaborating with one another. So you probably picked up, collaboration is a huge part of the transition to school statement and we'll talk about that again a little bit later. Alignment and balance between what and how children learn in early childhood education and care, and primary school. So that's the curriculum and pedagogical practices should be prioritised. So the statement is letting the early childhood educators and school staff know a little bit more about the curriculum and pedagogy in one another’s settings and finally, collaborative practices between preschool and primary school teachers, such as sharing written information on child development and children's experiences supports transition so and that is what the transition to school statement basically is, you know, written information shared and written information which provides a bit of a springboard or a scaffold for subsequent conversations and following up on particular things that might be mentioned.
Jacqui Ward – And that starting strong, Kell, is an international report too that summarises what's happening and what are the successful strategies across the world. So it's good to know, I guess, that that's, you know, a great strong evidence base of what's happening and what's working in countries across the world.
Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely, and it lets us know that, this, a tool such as the transition to school statement has been proven to be effective. OK, and finally the report of the review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools, I believe this is a 2018 document. It notes that when learning occurs over the early, pardon me, when learning that occurs over the early years is well supported, strengths-based and linked between the two settings all children will have the best chance for the best start in life, so essentially that, it's not very plain English, but what it's saying is supporting the children moving from the preschool setting, or from the home setting, into the school gives them the best chance of a successful education. Early childhood education makes a significant contribution to school outcomes. Transition between preschool and school education should be seamless. And I guess that's a challenge for everybody as educators and teachers to ensure that it is seamless. Strong foundations in early years learning are essential to ensure all children have the best start in life and will close the learning differential between advantaged and disadvantaged students.
OK, so that's our, the base, the research, what we're working from to be, to know and to be able to speak so strongly about the importance of the transition to school statement.
OK, so also the department has recognised the importance of transition. It's a priority for the Department. Goal one, as you probably are very aware, is that all children make a strong start in life and in learning and make a successful transition to school. Goal two is, every student is known valued and cared for in our schools. So that really encapsulates transition best practice. Jacqui's already mentioned it, every student is known, valued and cared for, because using the transition to school statement is a way that the school can get to know the student, and will actually value, and put things in place to ensure that their transition is smooth.
The department has released in 2020 updated transition guidelines, so these guidelines and accompanying resources provide New South Wales schools with policy advice and practical support to ensure all children experience a strong and successful start to school. The guidelines have been developed to support principals, leadership teams and Early Stage One teachers to inform improvement, planning and evaluation, collaboration, community engagement and networking and teaching and learning to meet the needs of all children. So the URL under the image of the front cover of the guidelines there, can be accessed, that's publicly available. If you want to have a look at the guidelines to support your work. Whether you're in an early childhood service or school, definitely worth a read.
Jacqui Ward – So the main audience for those guidelines, however, is schools, and there are a range of resources is available on the early childhood section of the website as well, and some resources about to be published as well, so there's a range of supports for both audiences available on the department's website.
Kelly Birket – Yes, thanks, Jacqui. OK, still looking at the policy drivers. So in the school sector, within the department, the School Excellence Framework outlines what excellence looks like in terms of transition to school. Where as in the early childhood education sector, it is the National Quality Framework that sets the standard for quality care and education. So both documents note the highest standards of educational excellence and each shapes the other calling all stages, on all stages of schooling to continuous improvement for the benefit of all children. So well just have a little bit of a look in detail at the documents now.
OK, so transition is a priority at the school level. As mentioned, the School Excellence Framework identifies transition and continuity of learning under the domain of learning culture and it outlines the receiving schools responsibility to support a successful transition to school for every child in the theme of transitions and continuity of learning. So at the excelling level, the document notes that the school engages in strong collaborations between parents, students and the community that inform and support continuity of learning for all students at transition points, including highly mobile students and students with atypical enrolment.
OK, and here, the National Quality Standard which is applied in all early childhood education and care services. This document notes the importance of transition in quality area six, under 6.2 Collaborative Partnerships. The standards require early childhood education services to collaborate with service providers and families to achieve quality outcomes for children. The document also recognises that continuity of learning is supported by the sharing of information and the clarifying of responsibilities. So you can see that in element 6.2.1 Continuity of learning and transitions are supported by sharing information and clarifying responsibilities. So the transition to school statement provides you with the tool to share that information. The clarifying responsibilities, I think, refers to the relationship that the two sectors have and talking about, you know, planning things together and for transition practices and, you know, really working together to support the children to transition successfully.
OK, transition is also a priority at the teacher level, so these standards apply to teachers working in the prior to school settings as well, as the school settings. Excellence and equity in transition to school supports achievement against all seven standards, but particularly standards one and seven. So standard one, know students and how they learn and standard seven, engage professionally with colleagues, parents, carers and the community.
Jacqui Ward – Moving on now, we're going to unpack a little bit about that idea of, you know, knowing and understanding each others space in terms of curriculum and pedagogy. That's an important part of knowing, being able to share information and interpreting information well because we know a little bit about each others spaces. The curriculum, is not, they are two separate sort of processes in the school space and in the early childhood space, so the mandated curriculum framework in the early childhood space is the Early Years Learning Framework, belonging, being and becoming and it's broken down into principles, five principles there, secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships, partnerships, high expectations and equity, respect for diversity and ongoing learning and reflective practice. So those are principles that guide all of our interactions, our pedagogy and our curriculum and the way that we connect with families, communities, schools, all of those things. Practices refer to our pedagogy, or how we, how we teach children, or how we engage children. That we have holistic approaches, what I was referring to before about that integrated approach. That we're responsive to children, so children very much have a strong and active role in their own learning. That they learn through play, so play, investigation, projects. All of the things that I mentioned before that we have an approach that we refer to as intentional teaching when we're teaching children. That we work on those teachable moments, we have, you know, planned experiences with integrated learning intentions, all those sorts of things, and that we might use many opportunities to achieve goals and outcomes for children in our intentional teachings. We refer to the importance of learning environments so that the learning environment is recognised as an important teacher, so the way we set out our experiences, our learning centres, our investigations, our opportunities for children to transfer and adapt learning is really important. We recognise indoor and outdoor learning as valuable learning opportunities. That we have a priority to ensure continuity of learning and transitions, so again, another impetus in that early childhood space to support, you know, sharing information in the transition to school statement. That we are culturally competent educators and that we have an awareness of differences and that we honour those differences and value diversity in our settings and then we recognise the cultural knowledge and identity that children and families bring to the learning and that we focus in on assessment for learning so that there's a real planning cycle of knowing where children are at and furthering their development and their learning as we assess their learning and use that information to plan for future learning. The five learning outcomes, again, not key learning area centred, but more focused in on learning dispositions and how children view themselves. So children have a strong sense of identity, they connected to, and contribute to their world. They have a strong sense of wellbeing and they're confident, involved learners and effective communicators. So those five learning outcomes encapsulating from that child's point of view all of the key learning areas, which will unpack a little bit more as we progress.
Key features of the Early Years Learning Framework. The framework is child centred, has an emphasis on individual needs, interests, and strengths. It is supported by research that's shown how young children learn best through planned and purposeful play. Again, that idea that children see themselves as active participants in their learning and actually have quite a lot of information, skills, and knowledge that they bring to that learning experience. Children are viewed as decision makers and active participants. The teaching and learning cycles are implemented for groups and individuals. Indoor and outdoor learning environments are viewed as equally important for learning and relationships are prioritised. The pedagogy in early childhood, which really extends right through to when children are eight years old, recognises that children learn best when they are in a relationship that is positive and supportive. I think that's probably the same for our lifelong learning. When relationships are positive, children, children and adults experience positive learning and more effective learning.
In the curriculum in the school stages, it's broken up into key learning areas, so English, maths, science and technology, human society and its environment, which is history and geography, personal development, health and physical education and creative arts. There are a number of cross curriculum priorities, so they run across all of those key learning areas and they are that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures are valued and important components, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia is an important component that needs to be integrated across all those key learning areas and, of course, sustainability is really important. The general capabilities that children are progressing as they move through the content in the key learning areas, are that they are encouraged to be critical and creative thinkers, have ethical understandings, use information and communication technology to build their capacity. Intercultural understanding, literacy, numeracy, and personal and social capabilities. So those are important integrated learning capabilities or dispositions, across all the key learning areas as well.
Kelly Birket – I think Jacqui, one key difference between the Early Years Learning Framework and the Early Stage One curriculum is the flexibility in Early Stage One is not as great as in the EYLF document. It's actually prescribed the amount of time that teachers devote to each of the key learning areas, whereas in the Early Years Learning Framework, it's very much a holistic approach, and wherever the child's need is, or their strength, you know, the bulk of the time can be devoted to that particular area, whereas, kindergarten teachers don't have that same flexibility.
Jacqui Ward – And I think too from the, you know, from a kindergarten teacher's point of view, when we look at the outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework, you can't obviously make a connection with those names to the key learning areas, but in fact, I guess you know in learning outcome five English and maths are very much prioritised, literacy and numeracy skills are happening when children are engaging with being effective communicators, and there's also, you know, that opportunity across all of the learning outcomes for all of those subject areas, but particularly in learning outcome number five for information and communication technology as well. If we think about human society and its environment, there's lots of connections with learning outcome number two, that children are connected to and contribute to their world. PDHPE there, the personal health and physical development - lots of strong connections with learning outcome number three, that children have this strong sense of wellbeing, and the creative arts are really also scattered across all different outcomes, so there's lots of opportunities to unpack those connections in both spaces, even though they are quite different.
Kelly Birket – Yes, you're right. And well, the Early Years Learning Framework talks about responsiveness to children, the kindergarten curriculum talks about differentiating, support for individual students, as well as making adjustments for those who need it. So Early Stage One actually calls out groups of children who may need additional support in particular areas, so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children from a non-English speaking background, gifted and high potential children as well as children with disability. So there is that flexibility in making adjustments, differentiating, absolutely it's noted in the syllabus document. And if you're not familiar, if you're from an early childhood service and you want to learn more about the Early Stage One curriculum, if you follow the link at the bottom of the screen there, you will come to the digital version. Each of the key learning areas is in a separate syllabus document and includes information on, I guess, all those adjustments that you can make and I'll just skip to the next slide and you'll see that each syllabus document is organised into these sections.
Jacqui Ward – Yes, and there's also, is a reference to the Early Years Learning Framework, and the same for, you know, teachers in the school space, we do really recommend that each audience dives into the each other’s curriculum documents so that they can find out a little bit more about what each other is doing.
If we move to the next slide, there's that recognition of prior to school learning. So in each key learning area, there's an opportunity for teachers to recognise and value that, the continuum of learning there as well.
Kelly Birket – And it's a recognition that the EYLF establishes the foundations for effective learning in school and throughout life, and that the Early Stage One is very much building on the EYLF and when I say EYLF I'm meaning, Early Years Learning Framework. I guess, this image shows that the two syllabus curriculum documents are complementary and it's an articulated pathway from early childhood into school and beyond.
Jacqui Ward – There's another nice summary document coming up next developed by ACARA and Early Childhood Australia some time ago which talks about the connections between the Early Years Learning Framework in the Australian curriculum, which is what the New South Wales curriculum is based on. So shows some nice strong links in there to the learning outcomes in that early childhood space and the school space.
Kelly Birket – Yes, they're broad brush connections, yhat are shown here, but it gives you a really good idea of how the outcomes do relate to the Early Stage One outcomes.
Jacqui Ward – There's also some great information in the Educator Guide there, so if you're interested to have a little look further too, in relation to the specific connections within the transition to school statement, there's some links in there that unpack those links a little bit more for you as well, so that's really important background information I believe in order to effectively use the transition to school statement both in putting information in and drawing information out. We need to know a little bit more about those spaces. \
Kelly Birket – Just be cautious if you are looking at these tables in the Educators Guide, the document was published in 2018 and since then the school science and technology syllabus has been updated, so it's not quite, very similar, but just a little bit of the wording has changed and possibly also the personal development, health and PE syllabus, you might notice that the wording from the current documents a little bit different, but very minor changes.
Jacqui Ward – So if we then go onto the next slide which actually shows the statement itself and looking at those connections there, so in the left hand column we've got learning outcome number three, children's well being. We've got some key points that are summarising the key components underneath that outcome. So self-regulates emotions has a nice strong link to the PDHPE syllabus which is talking about practicing self management skills in familiar and unfamiliar scenarios. So there's a strong connection there. demonstrates physical ability, again these practices in the syllabus so that's the early childhood one and in the syllabus document it talks about practices and demonstrates movement, skills and sequences using different body parts. And the final one there is manages personal hygiene and self care, which again has a link to the syllabus, identifies actions that promote healthy, health, safety wellbeing in physical, physically active spaces so that's an opportunity to show you where that information sort of funnels in, I guess, to inform teaching and learning in that school space.
Kelly Birket – So the next section we’ll look at will focus on continuity of learning and how the statement supports continuity. OK, so we've already talked about continuity of learning supporting successful transitions, and that continuity is crucial for optimising improved outcomes for children. When we’re talking about continuity of learning here, we're making reference to continuity from the early childhood service into the kindergarten. Continuity of learning in terms of transition is all about a seamless transition. If a child hasn't attended, is not currently attending, an early childhood service and continuity of learning is being discussed, well that would be talking about the continuity from the home into the school. The key thing with continuity is that it's all about the school building on a child's previous learning and acknowledging that they’re starting school with funds of knowledge and have already begun their educational journey. Continuity of learning refers to the school, particularly the kindergarten classroom, providing continuity in experiences, pedagogy and curriculum the child has experienced prior to commencing school. So the reason that this is important is because if there is discontinuity and that the setting and the approaches, in school, are completely different, you know, say, for instance if it's a play based early childhood program and the child has agency and they are able to select the learning activities they want to engage with, and then they move into a school which is more formal and it's more pencil and paper and they have less agency, they'll experience discontinuity and that will actually hinder their transition. For continuity to occur, the school must build upon the knowledge, skills and learning dispositions the child has developed in the home and/or the early childhood education service. When continuity of learning exists, children are able to transfer and adapt, previously gained skills and knowledge to the new learning environment. So discontinuity will actually hinder a successful transition. So then the greater the discontinuity, the more there will be a culture shock into, in the school environment, or the child may be left feeling alienated and that they don't belong because nothings familiar to them. The ways of being and acting and the expectations are so different to what they’ve experienced previously. They just don't feel that, that space, you know, that they're part of the school culture.
OK, so to confirm what was, we’ve just talked about on the previous screen, there's two quotes here. The first is from the Early Years Learning Framework, which again is the mandatory curriculum for early childhood education services. And this document notes that building on children's prior and current experiences helps them to feel secure, confident and connected. So as educators, we all know that learning won't take place if the children don't feel secure, confident and connected. That's the baseline. You've got to really start with that before the child will, you know, feel able to take risks and engage with the learning. The quote on the left is from the School Excellence Framework and it notes that every child brings a different set of experiences, knowledge, and skills with them to school and understanding these is essential to planning individual learning paths. So no matter which sector you're working in, the key documents that you are guided by are really, you know, calling out the importance of recognising continuity of learning and planning to support it.
OK, so another way to consider the continuity between the prior to school and school settings is to look at these, at the teaching and learning cycles. So on the left here we've got the planning cycle that is shown in the National Quality Framework and on the right, the teaching and learning cycle developed by the Department of Education. So just take a little moment to have a look at the text on the cycles there. So you would have noticed that the process represented in each is very similar and that the any differences are in the terminology, not the actual concepts. So if you look on the left there, you'll see it in the green, the reflecting, evaluating stage. So for early childhood educators, that's the point in a child’s cycle that you would develop the transition to school statement. It is summative assessment and then that piece of summative assessment feeds over to the right. If you follow the arrows into the teaching and learning cycle in kindergarten, where the kindergarten teacher is looking to gather data on where the students are now. So where, where are they beginning kindergarten at? The transition to school statement is going to provide that information.
So just to conclude looking, at this image here shows that there's a continuous teaching and learning cycle between the two settings and if this exists, if the early childhood setting develops the statement summarising where the students at, what they've learned, what they can do, what teaching strategies they respond to, and then the kindergarten teacher uses that information to begin the start of kindergarten, there will be a continuity of learning.
OK, so this next section we will look at is collaborating to support transition. So we've already alluded to this and how important it is. We can't really talk about the statement without talking about collaboration because it is, it is a document that supports the collaboration between professionals as well as a collaboration between the professionals and the family.
OK, so we looked at this image earlier. It's from the What Works Best in Practice document and again you could select the link at the bottom there if you want to read the entire document. So this, this image calls out a set of eight themes that support effective teaching and learning. So two of the other themes are collaboration and high expectations. So these two themes are going to be addressed in this section now in our presentation.
OK, so you can see the child in the centre there, as you know what we do has to be child-centred and with the child's best interests as the priority and the focus of what we're doing. Transition to school provides a unique opportunity for educators and teachers to work together across the prior to school and the school setting and to involve the family as well. In some of those discussions and in supporting the child. OK, so some of those discussions, we’ll have a look at it in a minute, can be initiated through the transition to school statement and the transition to school statement also provides a nice opportunity to scaffold, initiate conversations between both early childhood service and the school, and the family. We’ll look at that now.
OK, interestingly the What Works Best in Practice document actually also notes. that research has shown that contact between colleagues actually has more benefit than attending professional learning, which I found really interesting. Some of these collaborations and connections between professionals develop through formal transition networks, and others are more informal. So when I say informal, it might be telephone calls, sort of spontaneous telephone calls, or things like that. I won't go into transition networks at the moment, but just to say that they often they’re a formal organised meeting time where prior to school and school staff come together.
Jacqui Ward – Can I just jump in there too, Kelly, just to say as well that it's an opportunity I think to build an awareness and understanding of each others area and therefore for each, each part of the sector to feel valued, as well have their work acknowledged, you know. So that there is that importance of school teachers knowing you know, the important work of early childhood and then there is also early childhood teachers knowing where is the next, you know, knowing more about where children are going to and what they're learning looks like in that other space. So there's a real opportunity for professional collegiality there as well.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely and I'm actually aware of some situations where the early childhood staff actually follow up on the children after they've started kindergarten, because they've got that relationship with the school that, you know, they're able to visit and sometimes even the school will take the children back to the early childhood service, but it, but it really supports the relationship as well as the child's transition. So if there's no existing relationship, so what I'm talking about is, between the early childhood service and the schools that the children generally will attend the statement is an opportunity to actually initiate that contact and conversation. It's a reason to call. Schools might see it use it as an opportunity to seek clarification about a statement. They might ask for additional detail or inquire as to if a service actually completes the statements, and maybe you know, talk about what's hindering that process. Or you know what, what can be done to support. So the front of the statement has the contact details of the service so that that gives the school a really good opportunity to make that contact, and the early childhood service might initiate the contact, so they might inquire if the statements were received by the relevant kindergarten teacher. They might follow up and ask if there's any additional questions about a particular child, or you know, even just say how is so and so settling in, you know, do you need anymore information and have that conversation.
Jacqui Ward – Kelly, I'm just mindful of the time, we're sort of been going on for a while, so perhaps we just need to wrap up the last couple of slides quickly.
Kelly Birket – Yes, of course. OK, so if there is already an ongoing relationship between the school and early childhood service that will enable discussion or discussions of things like Jacqui mentioned, logistics of passing on the statements, and the best time. It also allows robust conversations about what is the most useful information to be included in the statement. Because we want the statements to be used by the kindergarten teachers, and for them to be useful, we need to sometimes have the conversations about, you know, what is the best information. Visits to one another's settings to deepen understandings of the relevant learning environment, curriculum, and pedagogy. So that's all about knowing where the child has come from and where they're going to. As just mentioned, opportunities to clarify or follow up on the information, formal and informal conversations focused on planning for children who will require additional transition or classroom support or adjustments can be made. And high expectations of a child when they commence kindergarten, so this is one of the themes of best practice. So when we talk about high expectations, if the kindergarten teacher already knows a bit about the child, their skills, their learning ability, their background that they’ll immediately have expectations of where that child's learning will go, where it will continue.
OK, so connections with families. This statement provides an opportunity to connect with families. The statement should be complementing the formative assessment completed throughout the preschool year. It's a really good idea to actually, for the early childhood educators, to ask the family for input about the type of information or what they, you know their perspective, of what should be included in their child statement. Sort of you know, what do you see as the child strengths? The statement can be used as a tool to share summative assessment of a child's learning and development with families potentially also serving the purpose of an end of year report. So that's just about talking about not doubling up on documentation. Maybe as a discussion to have at your service that if you're preparing both the statement and an end of year report, why couldn't the one document serve both purposes? But you know that's something for, to be discussed at the service level. Just a point, if there's any concerns raised in the statement about the child's learning and development, that shouldn't be a shock to the family. That, they should have already been raised and discussed during the preschool years. So if the child is having a particular challenge with something, perhaps that's already been raised, and being the focus of the learning goal also, then the statement would talk about what was put in place for the child around that challenge and how they're progressing. And finally, school staff might identify information in the completed statement to follow up on with the child's family. So after receiving the statement, there might be something in there that warrants a phone call to the family saying, hey, you know, why don't you come in? Let's talk about this. I want to know more about this and how can we support your child?
OK, and the last part of this connection section is connecting with children, so visits to early childhood services by school staff provide an opportunity for staff to meet and have informal interactions with the children as their familiarity builds these discussions might include talking about the school and transition and then in the kindergarten year, those relationships can be built upon.
So that's that section we’ll wrap it up now. So, thanks for joining us. Just a reminder, if you've got questions or queries, our email is at the top there. The second URL there next to the star is the webpage, the department's web page that our team looks after. There's information there related to transition and then the bottom URL, that web page is also part of the Department and it's the webpage that the Early Childhood Education Directorate maintains. They've got a lot of information there as well about transition, so we'll leave it there. Thanks Jacqui.
Jacqui Ward – Thanks everyone and we look forward to seeing you in part two.
Kelly Birket – OK, thank you.
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