Research shows that transitions are key to a young child’s development and emotional wellbeing. The way in which the first transitions are handled can have a significant impact on the child’s capacity to cope with change in the short and long term. Transitions should be viewed as a process rather than a single event. Children, practitioners and parents should all be involved in the process.
A key transition that a child will experience is the move between nursery to primary school during their early years foundation stage (EYFS).
Below is a checklist of key things to consider when developing transition policy and procedures. It focuses on moving from a nursery setting into early years foundation stage (EYFS) at school.
- Evaluate communication and correspondence with new parent/carers. Ensure information is clear and welcoming.
- Develop a clear settling-in policy and share it with parents.
- Offer parents a welcome pack with photos of the staff and the provision.
- Hold story times or drop-in sessions so new families can get to know the school before their child starts.
- Ask parents for as much information as possible about their child to plan for individual needs.
- Organise home visits and introduce the child’s key worker.
- Use photographs of children (taken with parental permission) for labels and in welcome displays.
- Offer staggered admissions.
- Invite parents to stay with the child as they can adjust to the new environment.
- Encourage children to bring a familiar object from home, such as a teddy or blanket.
- Access and read all incoming information on individual children.
- Highlight and brief all staff on those children who may be vulnerable and/or have special educational needs.
- Liaise with outside health/education/social service professionals who may be involved with a child.
- Review how each child is settling in on a daily basis with parent/carers and the child’s key worker and use, for example, a settling-in diary.
- Respond sensitively to parent/carers’ anxieties.
- Have a planned review or parent/carers’ evening to assess how the child is settling in.
- Have a parallel procedure for children who start in the middle of the term or at other times.
- Make provision for parent/carers with English as an additional language or those with poor literacy skills.
- Provide experiences which reflect the child’s home life and culture.
- Meet with staff to review and update transition policies and procedures.
Allowing for special time with a new key person will instil a greater sense of security. This is important for reception-aged children and those moving into Year 1. These children require the reassurance and guidance of an attuned adult to make positive transitions. A key person can tune in to a child’s emotional response and act accordingly.
Environments and routines that encourage shared activities, or special time in small groups, are invaluable for building new friendships and developing a sense of security following a transition. By providing the child with familiar resources and experiences they will feel safe, secure and a sense of belonging will develop.
Events for schools and early years providers to share transition information for children starting school.
Last updated 26 April 2022