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Tips for Helping Children Successfully Transition to ECCE

The early childhood years are a “critical period” for learning and development. Parent participation in transition activities prior to the new school year is strongly associated with children’s self-confidence, liking of school, and overall happiness in kindergarten (Hubbell, Plantz, Condelli, & Barrett, 1987). As such Transition practices need to be effective. Effective transition practices are activities that teachers, families, and community members can use to create supports and foster familiarity across early childhood settings (LoCasale-Crouch et al., 2008). During the transition process from home to the ECCE centre, children may feel:

  1. Sad
  2. Confused
  3. Anxious
  4. Uncertain
  5. Overwhelmed
  6. Hopeful
  7. Insecure


When the transition to early childhood includes opportunities for children and their families to learn about the new setting, build relationships, and experience continuity in curriculum, assessments, and relationship quality across their changing settings, children show greater school readiness (Hubbell et al., 1987; LoCasale-Crouch, Mashburn, Downer, & Pianta, 2008), reduced stress at the beginning of school (Hubbell et al., 1987) and stronger academic growth over the early childhood years (Ahtola et al., 2011; Schulting, Malone, & Dodge, 2005).

Therefore, these practices should be initiated early prior to the start of children entering ECCE settings Positive transition experience in the early years increases the likelihood of future transitions being successful (Tizard et al,1988; James and Prout, 1997; Pascal, 1990). Some helpful things to do with your child during the transition process will be:

Talk to children about ECCE as the date of entry draws near, but keep discussions as low-key as possible. If possible, schedule visits to their ECCE centre and meet their ECCE teachers. If parents feel nervous about the transition, children will pick up on that feeling. Try to relax and remain positive. Once they’re in ECCE, give them more free play time at home. Don’t overschedule preschoolers, especially at the beginning. Once they’ve settled into their new routine, perhaps focus on one or two activities.