Transition to school
Supporting a strong and successful start to school involves schools engaging with high-quality transition practices for children and families.
An effective and positive transition to school ensures that teachers know each child and family which ensures continuity of learning that meets the academic and wellbeing needs of all children.
Evidence-based transition practices
The strong and successful start to school transition guidelines (PDF 2.84MB) provide policy advice for schools to support principals, leadership teams and Early Stage 1 teachers in planning, implementation, and evaluation of transition practices.
See differentiated approaches to transition for further information on equity groups.
Further information for families
Effective transition to school is about the whole school engaging with children and families to make sure children are well supported through the process. It involves collaborative partnerships with early childhood services, families, and other professionals, including the transfer of information from one setting to another through open and honest conversations.
Talking about starting school in a positive way and encouraging your child to talk about going to school can help your child feel settled about the upcoming changes.
- Early childhood education and care directorate – Transition to school resources for parents and carers
- Starting school with additional needs – information and options for families to make decisions and support their chlid's transtiion to school
Examples of practice
Five schools share strategies they are using to support transition to school in unusual circumstances:
- Orange Grove Public School shares its approach to connecting with families through a Kindergarten Expo.
- Cessnock West Public School discusses preschool visits and using technology.
- Tarro Public School highlights its approach to using online platforms and phone interviews.
- Wahroonga Public School talks about its transition network and building strong links.
- Scone Public School shares its approach to workshops and take-home packs.
Professional learning and resources
The Early learning professional learning catalogue offers a range of professional learning for teachers and leaders to support a strong and successful transition to school for all children, including:
- Transition assessment planning tool (DOCX 1MB)
- Transition practices checklist (DOCX 1MB)
- Transition to school timeline (PDF 337KB)
- What does a strong start to school look like? (PDF 558KB)
- Strong start to school resources for orientation and transition practices during COVID-19
- Social stories for starting school and starting preschool
- Collaborative partnerships to support effective transition during COVID-19
Other department resources
Transition to school literature review
The Transition to school literature review updates the 2016 Transition to school literature review by the NSW Department of Education’s Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE). It examines the existing literature on the transition to primary school from home and/ or ECEC settings, including:
- What constitutes a successful transition to school.
- How the concept of school readiness is defined and what school readiness incorporates.
- The key factors which support a successful transition to school for children, their families and educators.
Transition to school case studies
The Transition to school case studies form part of a series to support the NSW Department of Education’s strategic goal of ‘All children make a strong start in life and learning and make a successful transition to school’. A successful transition to school is about laying strong foundations for year-on-year improvement by ensuring that our students are engaged and ready for challenge. The case studies refer to and draw on the department’s new Strong and successful start to school transition guidelines.
Note: Fieldwork for the case studies was undertaken after the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, but before the 2021 Delta outbreak.
- Every student is known, valued and cared for platform
- Inclusive learning support
- Early childhood education and care directorate – Transition to school resources for educators
- Resources for families
- Early learning and schools statewide staff room
- Transition to Kindergarten – Yammer network
- Department of Education, Skills and Employment (2014) Continuity of Learning: a resource to support effective transition to school and school-aged care, DESE website, accessed 11 August 2021
- Australian Council for Educational Research (2012) Starting school:: a strength-based approach towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, ACER website, accessed 11 August 2021
- SNAICC (n.d.) From early years through to school transition SNAICC website accessed 11 August 2021