14 SES 06 B, From Preschool to Primary and beyond: School Transitions in Ireland, Finland and Spain
Across Europe, the majority of children enter formal education at 6 years of age. In Ireland, while the compulsory school starting age is 6 years, children can begin primary school from age 4. In the years prior to starting primary school, many parents opt to send their children to early childhood programmes (widely referred to as 'early childhood care and education', or ECCE), which have a focus on the holistic development and preparation of children for school in terms of both socio-emotional competencies and emerging academic skills. Research suggests that attending preschool is linked to improved school preparation and performance (Magnuson et al., 2007), and that a high quality preschool environment is associated with better adjustment to primary school (Corsaro & Molinari, 2000; Augustine et al., 2009).
Against the backdrop of recent developments in the ECCE policy landscape in Ireland, including the recent expansion of free universal early years places, the establishment of quality frameworks, regulations and inspections for early years settings, and the introduction of an early childhood curriculum framework, the current research project, funded by the Government of Ireland, will add to a growing body of knowledge across Europe on the contributions of the home, preschool and school environments to a multitude of child outcomes.
This presentation focuses on the first phase of an ongoing, national, longitudinal, multi-cohort study of children's experiences of primary education (the Children's School Lives study). Cohort A follows children from preschool through to their 4th year in primary school. Primary schools (n = 100) were sampled at random from a population register that listed all grant-aided primary schools in Ireland, such that the sample is broadly representative of the population on the basis of level of educational disadvantage (DEIS status), size and gender-mix. In order to collect prospective data on children's learning, development and environment prior beginning primary school, preschools settings (n = 300 approx.) associated with or geographically close to recruited primary schools were approached to participate in the study, forming wave 1 of the longitudinal study. Information about the study and an invitation to participate was sent to parents of all preschool-aged children (2-5 years) in these settings. Quantitative data were collected on: the preschool environment, curriculum and staffing, child social, emotional and behavioural development, the home learning environment, family socio-demographic characteristics, primary school choice and preparation for transition, links between preschools and primary schools. Data were collected through self-administered survey for parents (online, with pen-and-paper-administration and telephone interview options) and self-administered online surveys for preschool staff. This data collection is currently underway and is due to be completed in May 2019. In autumn 2019, wave 2 of data collection will take place in the recruited primary schools with the aim of tracking as many of the preschool participants in their first year of primary education.
This study is the first of its kind in the Irish context and will make an important contribution to understanding children's educational trajectories, outcomes and experiences. The presentation will describe the study background and rationale, methods of sampling, recruitment and data collection, the profile of participating preschool and primary settings, and will give an overview of the headline findings emerging from analysis of Wave 1 data.
Augustine, J.M., Cavanagh, S.E., & Crosnoe, R. (2009). Maternal education, early child care and the reproduction of advantage. Social Forces, 88(1), 1-29. Corsaro, E.A. & Molinari, L. (2000) Priming events and Italian children's transition from preschool to elementary school: representations and actions. School Psychology Quarterly, 63(1), 16. Magnuson, R.C., Ruhm, C. & Waldfogel, J. (2007) Does kindergarten improve school preparation and performance? Economics of Education Review, 26(1), 33-51.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.