Young Children's Experience of Starting School in an Area of Socio-Economic Disadvantage
Educators in early years' settings are confronted with a complex set of circumstances when providing quality transitions to school for children in early education and care settings in areas of socio-economic disadvantage. Starting school is recognized as a life transition and milestone for young children (Danby, Thompson, Theobald, & Thorpe, 2012; Dockett & Perry, 2009; Yeo & Clarke, 2007). As children undertake the transition from a flexible home or early years' setting to the structure of formal school, they encounter a period of change and adjustment, accompanied with new experiences, opportunities, and challenges (Bond & Maley, 2007). How children in low socio-economic areas experience and manage this transition can impact on their progress throughout the schooling system and their life after school. A positive transition to school facilitates children's initial adjustment and achievement in the school environment, providing an advantage for their later attainment and enhancing the development of positive school trajectories (Dockett & Perry, 2009; Petriwskyj, Thorpe, & Tayler, 2005). Early schooling experiences also contribute to children's developing sense of self, thus, a successful start to school has a positive influence on how children view themselves as learners (Dockett & Perry, 2009). Conversely, children who are unprepared and have a negative start to school may be disadvantaged in the school setting (Centre for Community Child Health and Telethon Institute for Child Health Research [CCCH-TICHR), 2011). Poor transitions compromise children's school engagement and attendance, and they can create a negative life pathway that is difficult to alter and impacts on children's long-term outcomes (Centre for Community Child Health [CCCJ-IJ, 2008a, 2008b). Having a positive start to school is important for young children's development and lifelong learning.
Perspectives on Transitions in Schooling and Instructional Practice
Urban Sociology and Community Studies