Melanie thinks it is unacceptable that there is a lack of understanding, collaboration and respect between kindy, primary and high school educators. In her experience as an early childhood educator, some children are traumatised by the idea of going to school. Further compounding the problem is the inconsistency in qualifications and preschool service offerings in some of the smaller communities in Australia. Believing in a region where schools collaborate to support transition, and where all children have access to expert pre-school educators, Melanie started the Changemaker Journey with some big goals to achieve!
Melanie began by having some conversations with her school principal, pitching the idea that an additional, dedicated preschool teacher (Mel!) was worth the investment. She was successful and, with the support of her brilliant principal, the school topped up the funds to employ Mel in the capacity of a preschool teacher. This dedicated role and the time she had to focus on early learning meant Mel was able to offer alternative transition options to kids with additional needs.
Reception children and older kids with additional needs joined the preschoolers for play based learning experiences. The eligible preschoolers still participated in a transition to school program, but the Reception and additional needs students also had greater time to develop dispositions for learning (facilitating learning through play) through more time in an early years setting. Mel collaborated with the classroom teachers of the children who weren’t ‘preschoolers’, ensuring the learning provocations provided in the early years setting matched the learning occurring in classrooms.
In an effort to trial new solutions to address low numbers at their tiny school, Mel’s principal has also started experimenting with other transition configurations, for example, allowing 3½ year olds into a full-day transition program. It’s a real team initiative.
With the support of her school, Melanie’s idea has positively impacted three preschoolers, six 3½ year olds, three Reception children, and three children with additional needs. She’s excited about what the future looks like and the number of kids who can continue to benefit from this initiative.
Like the idea?
Melanie would love your support for Preschool Transition, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Susan and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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