Children starting school: Images from picture storybooks

Year: 2003

Author: Dockett, Sue, Whitton, Diana, Perry, Bob

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Starting School Research Project has gathered data from stakeholders in children's transition to school in many different ways. From these data, the following categories of concerns held by children, educators and parents about starting school have been derived: knowledge, adjustment, skills, rules, disposition, educational environment, family issues and physical issues. This paper draws from a sample of over 100 children's books gathered from several countries, which are designed to be read to or by children around the time they are starting school, and analyses them in terms of the previously derived categories. This analysis is then compared with the analysis of concerns undertaken through the project, which has shown that the adults involved in transition see things quite differently from the children making the transition.

The picture books, written and illustrated by adults, reflect the earlier findings about what adults think is important as children start school. As a consequence, they reflect different aspects of this transition from those the children have reported as critical. The consequences of these findings for the curriculum of transition to school in prior-to-school settings and schools are investigated.