Transitioning Preschool Children to Primary School

Transitioning preschool children to primary school is recognised as a very important time in a child's life. Positive transitions enable children to communicate, explore and think. Children need support to successfully negotiate transitions. Therefore, childcare services should be committed to supporting transitions out of the setting and onto primary school. Aistear's Wellbeing Aim 1 states; 'Children will be strong psychologically and socially. In partnership with the adult, children will handle transitions and changes well'.

Special Bundle Offer for Starting Big School Journal

We have a great special offer on the Starting Big School Journal. These make great going-away gifts for the children in your service starting big school next year - Fill each journal with memories from their time in preschool. Each journal also comes with downloadable Back to School curriculum plans and downloadable graduation certificates in English and Irish. Download, print and fill in for another keepsake and marker of the occasion.

Síolta Standard 13 Transitions states: “Ensuring continuity of experiences for children requires policies, procedures and practice that promote sensitive management of transitions, consistency in key relationships, liaison within and between settings, the keeping and transfer of relevant information (with parental consent), and the close involvement of parents and, where appropriate, relevant professionals”.

Preschool starts preparing children for the “Big School” transition from the beginning of their educational journey. Many children find starting primary school very exciting and settle in easily. However, others can find this time more difficult and settling-in more challenging. The preschool teacher can assist greatly in supporting the transition. Below are some top tips that can help childcare services.

Transition Top Tips for Childcare Services

  • When children move to primary school a “Transfer of Skills” report should be completed by the Key worker. This should be shared with parents and sent to their primary school teacher.
  • Build a programme regarding “Starting Big School” into the curriculum.
  • Talk to children about their feelings about moving to big school.
  • Provide opportunities for role play & practical props such as uniforms, school bags, lunch boxes and reading stories about starting school. This helps them relate to what school will be like and understand the differences between the 2 settings.
  • Focus on developing & supporting children’s practical “independence” skills.
  • Recognise that a child’s transition to school is a shared responsibility between  the service, school and parents. Collaboration and nurturing relationships are required to help children make a smooth transition to school (E.g. with teachers/principals/Home school teachers as needed).
  • Provide information and advice about children’s special educational needs to the primary school, upon request and with parental consent.

Transitioning Preschool Children to Primary School Bundle

The Starting Big School Bundle is an excellent tool to capture the children’s transition from preschool to primary school. This Bundle includes a Starting Big School Journal per child, Back to School Curriculum Plan and Downloadable Graduation Certificates in 6 styles (English and Irish). The journals and curriculum plans have been created especially by Canavan Byrne for all type of childcare services to use.

The Starting Big School Journal is used to record individual children's activities that take place to help with school readiness. Once the journal is complete it can be gifted as a beautiful keepsake for children and their families. The journals can be presented to the children at the end of year when the children say goodbye to their friends and teachers at their preschool. The children saying goodbye helps them to understand that they are moving on to the next stage.


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