14 SES 01 A, Migrant Parents' Perspectives, Engagement and Community Partnership
This presentation reports on one aspect of the Great Start, Great Futures Early Years Transition Project (GSGF) conducted in Queensland, Australia in 2014-2016. The objective of GSGF was to support schools, early childhood settings and communities to build partnerships, processes and pedagogies across the critical years of a child's life from birth to 8 years old to support optimal transitions from early childhood settings to schools.
The key research question in this study was “How has the GSGF helped to enhance transition to school programs in the participating schools, early childhood settings and communities?” This presentation reports on the development of effective partnerships as a means to promote positive transition experiences. The importance of a positive transition to school for all children has been highlighted in recent European research and continues to be a focus of world-wide attention (Vrinioti, Einarsdóttir, & Broström 2010). As part of the enactment of recent Australian educational reforms, the Queensland Department of Education and Training encouraged collaboration and partnership among the early childhood sector, communities, families and schools to support improved learning and development outcomes for children as they start school (Queensland Government, 2015b). Integral to achieving this objective is a new initiative to strengthen transition to school strategies across the state (Queensland Government, 2015a). Transition to school refers to the processes of continuity and change that are associated with starting school (Dockett & Perry, 2007; Education Review Office, 2015). Transition to school is a time of changing roles, status and identities for all involved and is a time of both continuity and change (Griebel & Niesel, 2009). Recently, transitions have been characterised using four ‘constructs’: opportunities; aspirations; expectations and entitlements for all concerned with the transition, including children, families, school teachers, prior-to-school educators, communities and education systems (Dockett & Perry, 2014, 2015; Educational Transitions and Change Research Group (ETC), 2011). Each of these constructs provides a lens through which transition to school experiences can be viewed.
Collaborations and partnerships can facilitate effective transitions. It is beneficial to develop partnerships among teachers and children; teachers and families; school and prior-to-school teachers; schools and communities; and principals and teachers with professionals from other disciplines which impact on the transition to school (Dockett & Perry, 2007; Perry, Dockett, & Petriwskyj, 2014). Effective partnerships extend secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships by focusing on common goals and “a culture of respect and collaboration” (Boyle & Petriwskyj, 2014, p. 5).
Working in partnership and contributing to collaboration can be both challenging and rewarding (Tayler, 2006). There can be challenges to be inclusive, recognise the diversity and strengths of those involved, and respect the range of backgrounds, experiences and qualifications contributing to the partnership. The rewards that can accrue from effective partnerships among professionals around transition to school are great. They can impact not only on the effectiveness of children’s transition to school, but also on the professional esteem of all involved, the wellbeing of families and children, the educational conversations within communities, and work within other areas of service provision that will build upon the respectful and trusting relationships already developed by the participants (Flottman, McKernan, & Tayler, 2011). Such ongoing partnerships have the potential to inform and improve educational practice (Keast & Mandell, 2013). In this paper, the characteristics of such partnerships within GSGF are highlighted.
Networks can provide an important forum for community focus on transition to school. Within networks, there are opportunities for information sharing, professional recognition and support as well as critical reflection on practices and expectations. Effective networks generate critique that encourages reflective practice and promotes positive change (Alvestad & Rothle, 2007).
Alvestad, M., & Rothle, M. (2007). Educational forums: Frames for development of professional learning: A project in early childhood education in Norway. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 15(3), 407-425. Boyle, T., & Petriwskyj, A. (2014). Transitions to school: Reframing professional relationships. Early Years: An International Research Journal. doi: 10.1080/09575146.2014.953042 Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P.A. (2006). The bioecological model of human development. In R.M. Lerner (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Theoretical models of human development (pp. 793-828). Hoboken: John Wiley. Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2007). Transitions to school: Perceptions, experiences and expectations. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press. Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2014). Research to policy: Transition to school position statement. In B. Perry, S. Dockett, & A. Petriwskyj (Eds.), Transitions to school – International research, policy and practice (pp. 277-294). Dordrecht: Springer. Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2015). Transition to school: Times of opportunity, expectation, aspiration and entitlement. In J.M. Iorio & W. Parnell (Eds.), Rethinking readiness in early childhood education: Implications for policy and practice(pp. 123-139). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Education Review Office (2015). Continuity of learning: Transitions from early childhood services to schools. Wellington, NZ: Author. Educational Transitions and Change (ETC). 2011. Transition to school: Position statement. Retrieved from http://www.csu.edu.au/research/ripple/research-groups/etc/Position-Statement.pdf Flottman, R., McKernan, A., & Tayler, C. (2011). Practice principle 2: Partnership with professionals. Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework Evidence Paper. Retrieved from http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/providers/edcare/pracpartner.pdf Griebel, W., & Niesel, R. (2009). A developmental psychology perspective in Germany: Co-construction of transitions between family and education systems by the child, parents and pedagogues. Early Years, 29(1), 59-68. Keast, R., & Mandell, M. (2013). Your guide to building collaborative capacity: Fact sheets. Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY).Retrieved from http://www.aracy.org.au/comment/fact-sheets-your-guide-to-building-collaborative-capacity Perry, B., Dockett, S., & Petriwskyj, A. (Eds.) (2014). Transitions to school: International research, policy and practice. Dordrecht: Springer. Queensland Government. (2015a). Statewide approach to transitions. Retrieved from http://deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/about/successful-transitions/statewide-approach.html Queensland Government. (2015b). Strategic plan 2015-2019. Retrieved from http://deta.qld.gov.au/publications/strategic/pdf/det-strategic-plan-2015-19.pdf Tayler, C. (2006). Challenging partnerships in Australian early childhood education. Early Years, 26(3), 249-265. Vrinioti, K., Einarsdóttir, J., Broström, S. (2010). Transition from preschool to primary school. Early Years Transition Programme (EASE). Retrieved from www.ease-eu.com/documents/compendium/chapter02.pdf Yin, R.K. (1984). Case study research: Design and methods. Beverly Hills: Sage.
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