Transitions occur at every point in our lives, sometimes they are minor and at other times they can appear to be quite big, or certainly “feel” big. For young children, transitioning from their early learning environments, which are smaller and play-based, to the larger school environment where there are more children, with different rules and a different style of learning can be overwhelming, as is attending 5 days per week. Not only are the children transitioning, but our parents are too. We acknowledge that it is an emotional process for children and parents.
One of the key factors for children to successfully transition between the early learning environment and school is also their parent’s involvement in the school community. Building relationships between school children, parents and parents, and parents and teachers ultimately offers everyone an opportunity to build that sense of community and a ‘sense of belonging’ which culminates in a stronger sense of wellbeing for all members of our community.
According to key researchers (Dockett & Perry, 2022) in the area of transitions between early learning services and school, when an “effective transition” is said to have occurred for the child (and family) when they gain a “sense of belonging in their new school environment”. Understandably, this sense of belonging will be unique for each child and family. Importantly, a sense of belonging will support the child’s learning, both now and in the future.
With all of this in mind, in 2022, we introduced the Pre-Prep Playgroup for children enrolled in Prep at St Joseph’s in 2023. The Playgroup ran between August and December 2022 with an average of 28 pre-Prep students attending every Friday morning for 1.5 hours, with the majority of our current Prep cohort attending throughout this time for either 1 session or 15 sessions. The Pre-Prep Playgroup was run by the Transitions Coordinator with Miss Karen.
The Playgroup was a hugely successful offering for our community and provided the children with an opportunity to become familiar with the school environment, Mrs Moore and other teachers who came into the Playgroup to read or work with the children, to begin building connections with the other children in the Prep cohort so that faces and names became familiar. Regular routines of the school were also explored, we learnt to walk in the hallway, ask to go to the bathroom, play kindly with others and include them in our play. We packed away willingly and took care of ourselves and each other on the play equipment.
The Pre-Prep Playgroup was an excellent way for relationships to flourish, not just for the children but also for our parents. The longer lead-in to school, incorporated with the 4 orientation sessions, provided the majority of our current 2023 Preps a chance to become comfortable in their new school space and with each other. It was a privilege to watch friendships blossom and confidence levels grow across the duration of the Playgroup.
The 2023 Prep children have started school positively and are happy to be here, which means that they have a greater capacity and confidence to delve straight into their learning and are able to build on the relationships forged in the Pre-Prep Playgroup. Our new parents, particularly those new to the school, have also begun to build connections, which also helps with growing our strong St Joseph’s spirit and community.
Pre-Prep Playgroup will continue in 2023 and will run throughout the whole year during school term times.
JUNIOR JOEY’S PLAYGROUP (Birth to 3)
For the youngest members of our school community, and the broader Stonnington community, we are delighted to announce that we will also run a Playgroup on a Monday morning at St Joseph’s (see attached flier).
This Playgroup will incorporate stories, songs, and movement and be an age-appropriate play-based environment. Importantly, it will provide parents with an opportunity to come together and build connections.
All enquiries regarding either the 2023 Pre-Prep Playgroup or the Junior Joey’s Playgroup can be directed to Stacey Farrell, Transitions Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org.