Broadly speaking, a transition is the move young children have to make from home to an Early Learning and Childcare or ELC setting. The following are the 3 key factors influencing transition from home to preschool, and applies for preschool to kindergarten, and kindergarten to primary school too.
1. Vulnerable Families
This is the foremost among the factors that influence transition of a child from home to preschool.
Vulnerable families are those where parents and/or their family member/s either lack the capacity or have limited capacity to give care, protection or provide for the overall well-being of their children. That’s why this factor should also be looked at as one of the major challenges faced by parents during a child’s transition.
When a family is affected by stress of any kind, be it social, financial or health related stress, they can directly and indirectly have an adverse effect on children. A few examples that can cause stress, among others, are:
- Financial issues
- Domestic violence
- Mind related health challenges, etc.
- Alcoholism and/or Substance abuse
- Separated parents
- Single parent scenario
- Divorce in the family
With a little bit of effort and understanding, an early learning centre can provide additional support to not only the children from such families but also their parents and family members.
Teachers, along with administrators, must take up the responsibility of going out of their way to build stronger relationships and deeper trust with such families. Most of all, they should together ensure that effective strategies are adopted so that the child experiences a smooth transition.
Every family have their own needs, challenges and circumstances. According to the nature of vulnerability and the degree of its impact, educators and administrators have to work closely with families, so that the challenges can be at least minimised, if not completely eliminated.
At the most fundamental level, the sheer manner how parents talk and interact with their child, among themselves, and among the members of the family; can directly influence the way the child goes about picking language skills, especially before entering preschool.
Children learn what they see! Therefore, the nature, quality and standards of communication a child observes happening at home will be the foundation on which language development happens.
If the foundation laid at home before preschool is either very weak or isn’t qualitative enough, it can become a major constraint that hinders effective transition from home to preschool. As a result, it can have an adverse impact on the language development, which includes the spoken, written and reading skills of the child.
3. Limited Early Childhood Experiences
From a very practical perspective, in the life of a child, the parents are his or her first educators – even in a joint family system. This is immediately followed by the others adults in the family. The overall quality of early years’ experiences will determine how the child will develop in his or her later years, especially adolescence and late teens.
Now-a-days, since both the parents are employed, taking up the duty and responsibility of providing love and care for the growth and development of a child is compromised in many ways. If there is one thing that child is deprived of the most, is quality time with his or her parents.
That’s why it becomes crucial for parents to learn how to parent a child during transition from home to school. Similarly, teachers and administrators should ensure that every child develops the characteristics required for school readiness.
The natural rate of growth and development of the brain of a child is incredibly fast, especially during the first 6 years. The experiences a child undergoes during these years is what will go on to help the child to learn and build knowledge and skills, and subsequently refine them to take it to another level.
If the child has acquired very limited experience during the early years, which invariably happens if the child is from a vulnerable family, it will invariably go on to hinder his or her overall development.
While it is a fact, indeed, that the above three key factors influencing transition from home to preschool together play a crucial role in the overall development of a child; it is also a fact that transitional experiences can be quite challenging for a child.
However, what is important to note is that irrespective of the challenge, with adequate support and help from the parents, teachers and school administrators; the child can always elevate the pace at which he or she learns, and go on to reach the requisite standards.