Preschool educators communication with schools: What the Communication Experience Technique can reveal about the nature of communication, motivations and relationships

Year: 2011

Author: Hopps, Kathryn, Dockett, Sue

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Communication between educators in schools and preschools is a widely promoted transition to school practice. Researchers, policy makers and educators have all recommended the exchange of information between educators in different settings as children make the transition to primary school. To a large extent this is based on current understandings of children's educational transitions within an ecological framework which, in turn, promotes inter-setting communication as one form of social connection that influences children's transition to school. While the practice of sharing information across settings is promoted, the realities of preschool- school communication have received very little attention in the research literature. This paper explores the nature, purpose and extent of educators' communication practices through interrogation of preliminary data from a study investigating preschool-school communication. Using a measure most often employed to explore inter-organisational communication, the 'Communication Experience Technique' (CET), we examine the experiences of 42 New South Wales (NSW) preschool educators as they communicate with schools around issues of transition. Data generated through the CET provided specific examples of communication and the effectiveness of these, from the perspectives of preschool educators. The topic, purpose and outcome of the communications were identified through content analysis. In addition, the study demonstrates the applicability of the CET in studies of communication at the preschool-school transition.