Transition from early childhood services to primary school marks a significant change in the lives of children and their families. Continuity between the two sectors is often seen as an important element of transition to school. The project aims to create a strong and equal partnership between early childhood services and primary school in order to improve educational continuity and facilitate the transition process of children (5-7) and their families. This will be achieved by enabling early childhood staff and primary school teachers to develop a cooperative approach to and a common understanding of education that can be adopted at both educational levels.
The aims of the project are:
Two recent OECD reports (2001, 2006) identified two different policy traditions. On one hand, there is the "pre-primary approach" which tends to introduce contents and methods of primary schooling into early education and reinforce school-like approaches and contents. On the other hand, the "social pedagogy approach" places an emphasis on the broad developmental needs of young children, their well-being, socio-emotional development, and motivation to learn. A main objective of the social pedagogy tradition is that children should develop social values and competences, a desire for learning and confidence in their own abilities, rather than focussing narrowly on pre-specified knowledge and skills.
The project partners will design initial and continuing educational courses for preschool and primary school teachers.The course will build on the strengths of the "school readiness" approach and the "social pedagogy" tradition, bringing together concepts of care, nurture, and education. Children's development will be stimulated by learning experiences and guided participation. Both adults and peers will nurture children's learning and development.
The learning stories approach (Carr, 2001) will be used to evaluate children's progress in language and early literacy. The children will be involved in progressively more complex patterns of reciprocal activity and be challenged by gradual shifts in the balance of power from the teacher to the learner. These shifts will reflect children's growing ability to set their own goals, assess their own achievements, and take on responsibility for their learning.
The project will emphasize:
The participating countries will develop:
Carr, M. (2001). Assessment in early childhood settings: Learning stories. London: Paul Chapman.
OECD. (2001). Starting Strong: Early education and care. Paris, OECD.
OECD. (2006). Starting Strong II: Early childhood education and care. Paris, OECD.
Kei Tua o te Pae, Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars (2004), Ministry of Education, Learning Media Limited, Wellington, New Zealand.