Friday, February 26, 2010

An idea for smooth transition to primary school

I was lucky enough to visit Otonga School in Rotorua while I've been here for the conference and to find out about some cool initiatives they have running. One that stood out for me was their 'Ready, Set, Go' programme to help children transition from preschool to primary.

This programme runs for one day a week over a period of ten weeks. The parents bring their children to school for one hour and take part in a targeted programme. Ready, Set, Go is an example of split screen thinking or using one idea to serve many purposes.

This is how it runs:
The parents and children all start together in the classroom with Jill, a very talented NE teacher. Jill takes the children through an element of the key competencies. When I was visiting the topic was how to get help in the playground. Jill demonstrated how to find a duty teacher and how to find other children to help, and how to find friends and make friends. This session gave the parents the security of knowing what is in place for their kids and the vocabulary to be able to talk to them at home.

Next the parents all leave with the leadership team to have a meeting in the staff room. They wave to their children as they leave and the children are becoming quite happy with parents leaving and their staying and taking part in the classroom programme. And the parents are happy with seeing their children feeling secure. The parents then meet with the leadership team to take part in a discussion around the same issue the children have been talking about however at an adult level.

Why I think this is an effective programme:
There are so many elements here that make this work. Firstly this is a superb idea for consulting with parents and making sure they feel a part of the school, know how things run, and feel like they can speak to the staff at any time.

Also, the parents are fully versed in the learning and teaching culture of the school. Since the programme they are taken through is based around the key competencies the parents fully understand the basis of the NZC and that the school is interested in their child as a whole person.

Additionally, the children become really secure and happy to be at school and make a much easier transition to the school. They already have a group of friends before their first day and they know all the routines and expectations of the school before they start.

I'm making a digital story at this school and it will be available on Key Competencies Online shortly (I'll link when available).

1 comment:

Jody Hayes said...

We have a wonderful NE teacher at my school that runs what sounds like a very similar programme to ease the transition to school. Her class is called 'The Nest' and the transition programme is named 'Fledglings'. We have had so much positive feedback from parents.