The Oxford dictionary defines transition as a process of adapting to the change from one stage to another. We all know that change is the only permanent thing. Change can be stressful if we are not prepared to handle is, especially when a child steps out of the secure environment of the home into new, unknown and definitely bigger environment where the child comes across multiple experiences in a different setting. The move from home to school is one of the most important transitions a child makes. During this phase of change the children may feel anxious, insecure, hopeful, sad, confused, uncertain or overwhelmed. Now the question is how do we make this transition to be terrific. Children’s success in school can be linked, in part, to effective transition practices and activities.
Parents and School will have to work in close tandem and collaborate to ensure seamless transition which is effective and continuous. Transition practices will have to be chalked out by all stakeholders and these shall be implemented throughout the year. Menu for effective transition practices may include:
- Contact with family during first few days of preschool is of vital importance to understand the need of the child and the family. The family sharing with the preschool teacher is essential. Both school and family must share information, material and resource to ensure that the child settles and accepts the change as soon as possible.
- Child and school connection comes next where the child connects with his preschool teacher and trusts her. The child friendly infrastructure and facilities give a sense of belonging to the child. The support staff of the school also needs to connect with the child by being kind, approachable, smiling and trusting. Training the staff in this direction holds prime importance.
- Peer connection within the class and outside the class through whole school assembly. On the bus, on the playfield and during school functions establishes a good rapport between the child and his peers. Various activities within and outside the class go a long way in building strong bond within the class.
- Community connections are equally important. No school can ensure the smooth transition of its children without the involvement of the local community in its school activities vis a vis the involvement of the students with the community. The school needs to collaborate with other schools in the area by sharing resources and organizing and participating in interschool events. The resource people from the local community may be invited to the school to relate stories to the children, to teach them poems or local folk song or dance form etc. Parents may volunteer by turn to take the bus duty etc.
- Parents are an important stake holder and will have to contribute in terms of time, material, space, personnel and money. They will have to support the school in its plan to ensure that the transition planning has a positive effect on children.
- Effective communication, meetings and regular reviews and formative and summative assessment of the transition plan of the school is very important to know if the child is being benefitted by its transition efforts.
- Most important is that children themselves can make very valuable contributions to the transition practices adopted by the parents and the school. We need to listen to them, respond to their challenges and respect their understanding of the educational experience. This would benefit all concerned.
The home to school transition can be difficult for many children and their families, however, a well planned and flexible transition plan can help a long way in making the child adjust to the transition challenges. When the school and families collaborate and closely work together the child is most likely to have a fun filled learning day at school.
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