Starting Strong

English
ISSN: 
2521-6031 (online)
ISSN: 
2521-6023 (print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/25216031
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This series of reports provides valid, timely and comparable international information on early childhood education and care. It aims to support countries in reviewing and redesigning policies to improve their early childhood services and systems. The series includes thematic reports on key policy areas, reviews of individual country policies and practices, as well as key indicators on early childhood education and care.

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Starting Strong V

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Starting Strong V

Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education You do not have access to this content

English
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Author(s):
OECD
21 June 2017
Pages:
296
ISBN:
9789264276253 (PDF) ;9789264276239(print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264276253-en

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The transition from early childhood education to primary school is a big step for all children, and a step which more and more children are having to take. Quality transitions should be well-prepared and child-centred, managed by trained staff collaborating with one another, and guided by an appropriate and aligned curriculum. Transitions like these enhance the likelihood that the positive impacts of early learning and care will last through primary school and beyond.  While transition policies have been on the agenda of many countries over the past decade, little research has been done into how OECD countries design, implement, manage and monitor transitions. Filling these gaps is important for designing early years’ policies that are coherent, equitable and sustainable.

This report takes stock of and compares the situation across 30 OECD and partner countries, drawing on in-depth country reports and a questionnaire on transition policies and practices. It focuses on the organisation and governance of transitions; and the policies and strategies to ensure professional, pedagogical and developmental continuity between early childhood education and care settings and schools. The report describes the main policy challenges highlighted by participating countries, along with a wealth of practical strategies for tackling them. The publication concludes with six “cross-cutting” pointers to guide future policy development.

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  • Foreword

    The first years of life lay the foundations for an individual’s future skills development and learning. As previous Starting Strong reports have shown, investments in high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) pay dividends in terms of children’s long-term learning and development. Many OECD countries recognise this, and have increased public spending on ECEC in recent years. However, a growing body of research suggests that the benefits can disappear during the first years of primary school if the transitions between ECEC and primary schooling are not well-prepared, or if continuity in quality is not ensured in primary education.

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  • Executive summary

    The first years of life lay the foundations for future skills development and learning. The transition from early childhood education to primary school is a big step for all children. A supportive and stress-free experience at this stage is likely to influence whether or not they can develop to their full potential at school, academically and socially. Investments in high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) and smooth transitions between the various stages of early education, are key for children’s long-term learning and development. Quality transitions that are well-prepared and childcentred, managed by trained staff collaborating with one another, and guided by an appropriate and aligned curriculum, enhance the likelihood that the positive impacts of early learning and care will last through primary school and beyond.

  • Overview: Towards smooth transitions from early childhood education and care to primary school

    The transition from early childhood education and care to primary school is a big step for most children. A supportive and stress-free experience at this stage is likely to influence whether or not they can develop their full potential at school, academically and socially. Political and social attention on early learning and its transitions has increased over the past decade in many countries, but comprehensive knowledge of what policies and practices are needed for successful transitions is lacking. This chapter provides an overview of the key findings of OECD research to take stock of transition policies across OECD and partner countries. It summarises the main messages from the four thematic chapters of this report, which explore the organisation and governance of transitions, as well as how countries are ensuring professional, pedagogical and developmental continuity from early childhood education and care to primary school. It begins with six “cross-cutting” policy pointers for future policy development on transitions.

  • The organisation and governance of transitions from early childhood education and care to primary school

    Understanding how the transition between early childhood education and care (ECEC) and primary education is organised and governed across the OECD is important to help policy makers ensure that the foundations laid in ECEC endure into primary education, promote a strong start in primary school and foster a more equitable early education system. This chapter provides an overview of transition systems across OECD and partner countries, focusing on trends in organisation and governance. It describes four main policy challenges for smooth transitions, accompanied by a wealth of practical strategies devised by participating countries for tackling them. Finally, it draws out some pointers for policy development to provide some food for thought on improving transitions.

  • Professional continuity in transitions from early childhood education and care to primary school

    How do countries ensure that early childhood education and care (ECEC) staff and primary school teachers are prepared and supported enough to help children transition smoothly to primary education? What systems are in place to help them co-operate with each other and who leads these processes? This chapter explores these key questions for professional continuity in transitions. It provides an overview of policies and practices concerning professional continuity across OECD and partner countries, focusing on staff working conditions, staff pre-service education and professional development, teacher support, and leadership and co-ordination. It describes three main challenges highlighted by participating countries that are contributing to continued gaps in professional continuity, along with a wealth of practical strategies for tackling them. Finally it lists some pointers for policy development as food for thought for countries seeking to improve professional continuity for transitions.

  • Pedagogical continuity in transitions from early childhood education and care to primary school

    Continuity in curricula and transition practices between early childhood education and care (ECEC) and primary school has a positive impact on children’s later academic and social success. How are OECD countries ensuring that instructional techniques and strategies do not vary too much across children’s various settings around the time they transition from ECEC to primary school? This chapter explores this question, drawing on a large survey of OECD countries and partner countries. It reviews curricular continuity between the last year of ECEC and the first year of primary school, outlining key trends — as well as similarities and differences — in curricular contents. It describes three main challenges highlighted by participating countries that are contributing to continued gaps in pedagogical continuity, along with a wealth of practical strategies for tackling them. Finally, it lists some pointers for policy development as food for thought for countries seeking to improve pedagogical continuity in transitions.

  • Developmental continuity in transitions from early childhood education and care to primary school

    To ensure continuity in young children’s development, high-quality ECEC needs to be followed by quality education throughout school, and particularly during the first years of primary education. Collaboration is the watchword for developmental continuity, and is explored here for a range of actors involved in child development, including children themselves, their parents, ECEC and primary school staff, and community services. The chapter draws on a survey of OECD countries and partner countries to outline key trends across jurisdictions, as well as similarities and differences. It describes five main challenges highlighted by participating countries that are hindering developmental continuity, along with a wealth of practical strategies for tackling them. It concludes with some pointers for policy development as food for thought for countries seeking to improve developmental continuity in transitions.

  • Policy pointers to improve transitions from early childhood education and care to primary school

    Traditionally, the “transition to school” has been interpreted as being all about “school readiness”, whereby the early childhood education and care (ECEC) setting should prepare children for the school environment. However, recent advances in neurological research, developmental psychology and learning science all suggest the need for school environments to themselves be more developmentally age-appropriate. This implies that reform is also needed in primary schooling to ensure that the benefits to young children of high-quality ECEC endure and can be built upon in the school environment. While ensuring effective transitions is the responsibility of many people, policy makers have a particular role to play. This includes creating the supportive structure and frameworks required across government, in teacher training and educational institutes, and in the administrative mechanisms within which effective transitions can occur. This chapter distills six cross-cutting themes from the thematic chapters of the report that can be considered by policy makers and adapted to their own contexts.

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    • Methodology

      The OECD Secretariat collected information on country approaches to transitions through the preparation of Country Background Reports (CBRs). These were prepared by the nine countries that made voluntary contributions to cover the costs of this project: eight OECD countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and Wales, United Kingdom) and one partner country (Kazakhstan). The CBRs were prepared following guidelines provided by the OECD Secretariat. They responded to a common set of issues and questions, and followed a common framework to facilitate comparative analysis and to maximise the opportunities for countries to learn from each other. They have been written in an accessible style so as to reach a wider audience. They provide detailed information on the countries’ transition system and practices, including the policies and practices that are implemented in public ECEC settings and primary schools, and an in-depth analysis of context, key factors and policy responses. They are an invaluable source of information for the final synthesis report. The CBRs are been published in the OECD ECEC website at: www.oecd.org/edu/starting-strong-v-9789264276253-en.htm.

    • List of network member contributors to Starting Strong V: Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education

      Contributors to this publication provided country data, country-specific policy information, comments on the drafts, etc. as members of the OECD Network on Early Childhood Education and Care (listed in alphabetical order).

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