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Starting Strong V

Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education

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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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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.

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