By Rebecca Raymond on 11 Jul, 2024

Our collaboration with the local primary school began in 2017, aiming to strengthen our transition to school process. We have been profoundly influenced by this partnership, which has enriched our practices and supported children’s school preparation ever since.

Located in Sydney's beautiful Breakfast Point precinct, our early learning centre benefits from nearby parks, reserves, cafés, and businesses, offering numerous beyond-the-gate experiences for our children and team. These outings extend children’s learning and strengthen their connection with their local surroundings.

In 2017, we invited the school’s head teacher to speak at our transition to school information evening. She emphasised that children’s learner confidence stems from resilience, positive social abilities, and a love for reading, which are crucial for a smooth transition to school.

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Creating a plan to bridge the gap

As the Educational Leader, I sought to bridge the gap between early learning environments and school settings. I met with the head teacher to discuss visits for our children to enhance their comfort with new learning environments and ensure our programmes provided the best possible start for their future schooling. Our shared ideology on children’s needs and development was evident from our first meeting, and together, we mapped out practical implementation strategies.

Upon returning to my team, we discussed the purpose of school visits, our goals, and potential risks. Collaboratively with families, educators, and children, we developed a detailed plan, assessed risks, and designed age-appropriate, focused, and stimulating visits for our preschoolers.

Regular visits turn apprehension to excitement

Our visits began with exploring reception classrooms, comparing environments, and participating in reading lessons with school children. Initially apprehensive, the children’s excitement grew as they revisited the school grounds and classrooms regularly. As their comfort with the larger school setting increased, we began attending various social events, such as CBCA Book Week, Simultaneous Storytime, and Plant a Tree Day. These visits fostered a sense of community belonging and familiarised the children with school events and routines.
 

Reciprocal visits and new buddies

During our school visits, we connected with various teachers to discuss our pedagogical practices, including play-based programs and incorporating children’s interests into our curriculum. These interactions led to reciprocal visits, where school students came to our early learning centre to share their skills and enhance their confidence by reading to our children. These sessions have been crucial in developing positive social relationships, allowing our children to learn from their ‘buddies’ in a relaxed environment.



Aligning principles

Inspired by our close collaboration with the school, we adopted their classroom agreements: ‘Be Kind, Be Safe, Be a Learner.’ These principles are now reflected in each room of our service and have become integral to our philosophy, encouraging strong, resilient, and confident learners. We use these agreements to promote positive behaviours and support children in managing their own risks during play.

Family support and inclusion

With each new visit, our team reassesses risks and reviews the outing’s purpose. We share our plans with families and children, incorporating their input into our decisions. Families and carers receive detailed information about the location, benefits, distance, and transportation for each visit. Ongoing conversations with families ensure they have a platform to express their ideas and opinions, preparing them for their child’s upcoming transition.
 

Our relationship with the local school continues to flourish as we adapt to the needs of individual groups, ensuring our visits support their transition to school and comfort with new environments. Each visit is tailored to the needs and desires of our team, children, families, and the teachers at the primary school, fostering awareness among the children and preparing them for the exciting journey ahead.

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About Rebecca

Rebecca Raymond is the Educational Leader of Explore & Develop Breakfast Point and has more than a decade's experience as a professional educator. The Breakfast Point centre philosophy holds that the transition to school process begins in the infant and toddler classrooms, which is embedded across all activities. Children’s ability to predict routines and make connections to their world allows them to feel safe, secure and supported and part of a wider community (EYLF). Rebecca and her colleagues aim to provide children with experiences and opportunities to lay the foundation for lifelong learning.

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