What do early childhood educators and parents think is important about children's transition to school? A comparison between data from the city and the bush.

Year: 1999

Author: Dockett, Sue, Perry, Bob, Howard, Peter, Meckley, Alice

Type of paper: Refereed paper

During 1998 and 1999, the Starting School Project at the University of Western Sydney Macarthur has conducted a New South Wales-wide survey on what key stakeholders see as being important to ensure smooth transitions to school for young children. This paper uses data from this survey and a series of focus group interviews to report on the responses from early childhood educators-in both school and prior-to-school settings-and parents who have children recently starting school or preparing to start school. In particular, it compares data derived from country New South Wales-including rural and remote areas-and city locations within the state. Differences found include: the perceived importance of prior-to-school experiences; the nature of these experiences; the particular effects of geographical isolation; school and class size; nature of the local communities; distance education; the effects of the rural recession; the role of technology in children's education and the nature of transition to school programs.

The paper considers each of these and derives some initial recommendations for successful transition to school programs which involve all the stakeholders in this transition.