As children move from Foundation Stage to Year 1 many navigate this change with ease, but for some parents and their children this can be a daunting and stressful experience. Simply moving from a Foundation Stage building and from familiar routines and teachers can be a challenge that causes for many much anxiety. During the transition process, children can experience a substantial shift in culture and face challenges that involve acclimatising to new environments, practitioners, peers, routines and levels of expectation.
The manner in which this transition takes place is thought by many to set the tone and direction of a child’s school career. Many educationalists feel strongly that a child who transits smoothly is set on a more positive school experience than that of the child who experiences a negative transition. The passage at this significant juncture, and how the situation is negotiated by school leaders, teachers and families may have a lasting influence on how children progress academically, socially and emotionally.
At Dubai British Foundation (DBF) - our sister school - the faculty are are delighted to provide a transition programme from Foundation Stage to Year 1 that is extensively planned, cohesive, nurturing and reassuring to both children and to their parents. They know that a successful transition from FS2 to Year 1 enables children to adapt to new settings, quickly grasping teaching and learning methods, school processes and new rules and regulations thus enhancing their academic performance and most importantly ensuring their well-being in school.
It is widely acknowledged that the involvement of families is important to a child’s transition. At this critical point in the educational trajectory, which may determine failure or success, families significantly influence the transitioning process. Moving to Year 1 not only involves the child, but requires the whole family to make adjustments and adapt to change. DBF acknowledges that this transition not only involves the child, but requires the whole family to make changes which ensures a smooth and successful transition. The family’s contribution to this process is essential and one, which DBF, in collaboration with Dubai British School Jumeirah Park (DBSJP), ensures, is stress free and fun.
A practised and well thought out transition calendar is organised each year in collaboration with the staff at DBSJP. This calendar lists a series of events and meetings that prepare children and their parents for this transition in a manner that caters for the individual needs of every child. It addresses the need to ensure that all children at DBF transition as confident and happy learners. We strive to achieve academic standards on leaving FS2 which exceed those expected on entry into
Year 1, thus ensuring the children go in to their new class with a “can do” attitude, ready for any new academic challenges which are placed in front of them. We work diligently to develop every child’s social and emotional skills, ensuring that their self-esteem levels are high and their ability to make friends and adapt to new situations come easily to them.
At DBF the caring teaching staff pride themselves in knowing all of their children intimately and therefore are eager to pass on this knowledge to their new Year 1 teachers. A detailed report, which lists all the children’s 17 areas of learning, along with their passions, strengths and targets, are provided to their new class teachers. All DBF FS2 teachers meet one to one with DBSJP Year 1 staff to provide further information before they enter into their new class. Further support visits are arranged throughout Term 1 of Year 1 to ensure that all children are secure in their new classroom and they feel supported by their previous Foundation Stage teachers despite them not being their teacher anymore.
A series of coffee mornings for parents are arranged throughout the year that provide useful information in regards to this transition while also allowing DBF families to become familiar with the wonderful staff at DBSJP. One to one sessions with staff from DBSJP as well as personalised school tours of the DBSJP campus can all be arranged easily to best suit a parent’s busy schedule.
Visits from DBSJP teachers to DBF is a regular event during FS2. Year 1 teachers observe classes, take part in lessons and read stories to the children of FS2, thus ensuring that the children are confident and happy in their presence before meeting them again in Year 1.
All children at DBF are given lots of opportunities to visit DBSJP and experience their amazing array of resources and exciting classes. This is done with and without parents so that both parties have an opportunity to do what best suits the emotional needs of the child. DBF teachers and L.A.s are always present to ensure consistency and comfort for the children. Simply visiting the school and eating lunch in the DBSJP canteen is very exciting for the children as is their first opportunity to play in the “big school’s play ground”! Meeting their new teachers, visiting their new classrooms and having opportunities to partake in DBSJP specialist subjects such as Art and P.E., are all exciting and fun ways to make your child feel secure in preparation for the change the following year.
Transitioning from the DBF campus to the DBSJP campus has been a huge success for staff, families and children to date. We look forward to another exciting, fun and successful transition this year as the amazing DBF FS2 students begin their journey at DBSJP in September 2017.