Focus on school transition at Algester
Ensuring children start their first years of school feeling safe and confident is vital for a happy transition from kindergarten, says Goodstart Algester early childhood teacher Janis McDermott.
Acknowledging the move from kindergarten to school is significant for children and families, Ms McDermott said creating a connection with the local school was crucial.
Being able to deliver quality outcomes for children, instil confidence in parents and connect with local schools makes a huge difference in a child settling and starting school on the right foot.
“We’d been trying for a long time to have a connection with our local school, and through collaboration with the deputy principal at Algester State School we developed a strategy around what a smooth transition to school would look like," Ms McDermott said.
“I learned that prep teachers weren’t using our transition statements, which meant many children were entering the school system with their teachers knowing very little about them developmentally or as individuals.
“So I spent time with the school’s teachers to help them understand what we had to offer and how we could work more closely.”
Reaching out to the school has provided tangible benefits for children and their prep teachers.
“We can really help prep teachers get a picture of the children as a group and balance class selections. We can give them insight into the children as individuals which enables a stronger rapport with their class to be established from early in the year.
“I’m also working with the school to push their interviews with children to later in the year, from June to November, which will paint a far more accurate picture of the children coming through.
“It makes the transition to school so much easier for children.”
Now considered a senior teacher within Goodstart, Janis has extended her influence to help new teachers become confident and capable in an early years setting.
“The two biggest challenges I see with new teachers are knowing how to plan intentional teaching while being responsive to children’s ideas and interests, and the approach to behaviour guidance in early learning as opposed to schools.
“Many school settings advocate a punishment, consequence and reward process for behaviour while in early learning we place greater emphasis on emotion coaching, which helps children learn to regulate their own emotions and behaviours.
“A lot of new teachers are graduates and their placements and experience has come from a school setting. I help them understand their role in an early childhood context.”
Goodstart’s teachers are helping children establish a solid foundation for learning which will last them the rest of their lives. It requires deep engagement in practice, a responsiveness to children as individuals and well established connections to schools. Plus a great mentor like Janis.
“With kindergarten such an important year, there’s no doubt that supporting new teachers leads to better outcomes for children.”