Steps to School: Supporting Children with the Transition from Preschool to Primary School in Finglas
As part of the Better Finglas Early Years Programme, the transition from preschool to primary school has been identified as a key stage of a child’s life. Early years practitioners, primary school teachers and parents all play an important role in ensuring continuity of care for each individual child at this time. Transitions can be stressful for some children and they need to be supported during the process. The White Paper on Early Childhood Education (DES, 1999) recognises, for children that have difficulty making the transition to school, the gap between them and their peers usually widens over time.
Finglas is an area with many preschools and primary schools which can make it very challenging for settings to work together. For this reason Better Finglas established a working group to consider the development of a programme to support children’s transitions from preschool to primary school. The Transitions working group was made up of representatives from both the early years and the primary school settings, parents and the Better Finglas team and supported in the setting up phase by the expertise of Dr Mary O’Kane.
The ‘Steps to School’ programme is made up of a number of strands.
‘Steps to School’ transition packs were given to each child starting junior infants this September. The packs included relevant information for children and families including:
Storybook on starting school
Tips for parents to prepare children for school
Information on Triple P Parenting Programmes
Nursery Rhymes for children
A number of actions took place within the early years settings:
Workshops were delivered to early years practitioners on the topic of supporting children’s transitions from preschool to primary school
A transition form was developed to share information between preschool and primary school with parent’s consent
Transition boxes were developed in settings to gather resources to support children in the preschool setting
Photobooks were created containing photos of local schools to help children engage in conversation about going to school