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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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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.

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