The process of transition enables families and children to become familiar with the school routines and environment, and for the school to start to become familiar with important information about the child, such as learning strengths, interests and stress triggers.
Information for the child and their family can be sorted into two areas: the school and the classroom. Most information families require regarding the school is accessible via school websites, parent handbooks, the school prospectus or by requesting school policies, procedures and information from the principal.
Specific and relevant information regarding the classroom is useful for the child and his/her family as it helps them prepare for the start to schooling. Children with ASD are usually more able to understand, remember and use information if:
- it is presented in their learning preference (often visual such as photos, images or video, and/or kinaesthetic such as experiencing or actively being involved in doing, creating, showing or making)
- information is linked to known or preferred information (linking to interests, known routines, concepts or activities, known peers, use of motivating topics, images or concepts)
- consideration is given to the family's ability to access information, which they may provide to the child at home (Do they have access to the internet? Do they require translation or language support? Do they already have children enrolled in this school? Do they need photos and/or video?).
Information for the transition team
The below information may be useful for the family and the transition team to consider:
- the routines the student is likely to encounter in Prep
- the staff the student is likely to encounter (classroom, playground, office, specialist staff, support staff, other)
- any peers the student may already know or has recently met
- the environments the student is likely to experience, including the Prep classroom, school amenities, the allocated playground area, specialist lessons, library
- routines the child will need to know, such as access to the tuckshop, uniform shop, after school hours care program, sporting amenities, the library and specialised support or rooms
- information relating to any particular interests or strengths that the student may have as these may be calming and or motivating.
The Transition booklet: My journey to Prep provides templates in the 'Information for the Prep Environment' section that team members may use to ensure that important information has been shared.
Tips for transition activities provides further specific tips regarding transition activities. A wide range of transition activities have been suggested. These activities are grouped into four phases so that it is easy to see how transition activities may be sequenced and responsibilities allocated throughout the whole process. The transition team may choose to prioritise, document and share these activities in either the 'My transition activities template' found in the booklet or the Transition timeline that allows for more specific details to be documented and shared with the team.
Consideration must be given to prioritising the suggested transition activities necessary to support the successful transition to Prep for the individual child, the family, Early Chilldhood Education and Care (ECEC) educator and the school. For some children, it may be necessary to complete most of the suggested transition activities, while other children may only require a smaller number of the suggested transition activities. Discussing those activities that are most important for the family and the school will help develop a transition plan that will meet the specific needs of the student.
Planning to group transition activities such as combining a visit to the ECEC centre with a transition planning meeting and information sharing session will help manage time and other constraints.