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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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.

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