Transition support for students and parents

Life is full of transitions!

Students make many formal transitions in and between schools: from home or preschool to school, from grade to grade, from primary school to secondary school, from compulsory education to post-compulsory education and to further education, training or work. Some students also make transitions as they transfer from school to school or back into school after illness or other forms of extended absence. Transitions can also involve a change in family circumstances: parent separation; moving house or the death of a family member.

Each of these transitions involves students’ expectations and concerns, and the processes of leaving one location, settling into another, leaving old friends, making new friends, and continuing learning and development. Transitions are not just isolated events, but involve the context in which they happen.

These points of transition are critical moments in determining students’ wellbeing and learning. Many of the important transitions between educational settings occur at times of rapid student growth and development, when they are concerned about issues of identity (who am I?), relationships (how do I relate to others?) and future (what will I be?). How they approach these transitions, and how they fare through them, may be determined by many factors at home and at school.

The challenges that are involved in school transitions shape students’ development in positive or negative ways. Students report that such transitions raise their expectations and provide excitement about new subjects, new contexts, possibilities for greater responsibility, and learning new things. In some cases, these transitions provide students with a chance to break from previous negative experiences and make a fresh start.

For the great majority of students, such transitions happen smoothly, with little disruption to wellbeing or learning. Consistently, studies about the movement from primary to secondary school have found that most students perform satisfactorily or better in academic work following a transition.

A successful transition for these students is defined by key features or indicators and these contribute to their continued learning and growth:
  • Developing new friendships and improving self-esteem and confidence
  • Settling well into the new school life, so there are no concerns for parents
  • Showing an increasing interest in school and school work
  • Getting used to new routines and school organisation
  • Experiencing curriculum continuity
Times of major transition can be cause for concern and anxiety for many parents, who ask themselves the question, ‘how best can I support my child through this time of transition?’

By way of answering some of your questions we have sourced some very informative articles to support you during periods of transition:
KidsMatter: “Thinking about Transition to School”
Good Grief: “Managing Life Transitions”
Michael Grose: “Making a Smooth Start to Secondary School”
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development: “Transition- A Positive Start to School Resource Kit”. (This is the link to the webpage where you are able to download the resource kit. Please note that this is quite lengthy, but is an excellent overview of transition practices aimed at both parents and educators alike)
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any further information regarding your child’s transition to, from or within St. Joseph’s Primary School. We are here to provide the best possible transition processes for all of our students and their families and we are always available to answer any questions you may have.