Why is forming a team important?
- to help your child’s transition to school to be coordinated and organised
- to work out who will carry out which roles
- to develop and work on shared priorities and goals
- to make sure information about your child’s strengths and needs is shared
- to help you know about and understand the options available to your child
In order for your transition team to work effectively it is helpful to decide on the roles and responsibilities of each team member. These roles will vary from one child and family to another. Roles may change during the transition to school process.
Forming a transition team
Your family is at the centre of the transition to school process.
A good working relationship with the school and other support professionals is one of the most important factors in successful transition to school.
You can decide who you would like to assist you to plan your child’s transition to school. Some people may attend planning meetings. Others, such as professionals from a diagnostic and assessment service, may only provide information to help the planning process.
You may like to include someone:
- from your child’s early childhood intervention (ECI) service
- from your child’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) service (e.g. preschool or day care)
You may also choose to draw on the experience of other parents you have met along the way.
The school also has members on your child’s transition team. School representatives may include:
- school staff such as the principal and/or class teacher
- support staff associated with the school system's transition process
As parents or carers, you know your child the best. Sharing your knowledge of your child’s strengths and needs can assist the new school with planning for your child.
Other ways you can be involved in the transition team:
- making a decision about what type of school you feel will best suit your child
- finding out about and visiting the schools you are considering
- completing and returning the application and/or enrolment form
- leading the planning process or nominating a trusted professional to take the lead
- providing written and/or verbal information about your child’s interests, strengths and needs. See also "a snapshot of my child"
- talking about and preparing your child for the new school environment
It is possible that you may be still be waiting for confirmation of a placement at your preferred school. If this is the case, talk to your team about arrangements and steps you can take to begin preparing your child.
- taking your child to orientation visits at the school
Your early childhood intervention (ECI) service
If your child has received support from an ECI service prior to school, you may like someone from this service to be on your transition team.
There may be one person who has worked with your child and family over a period of time and knows your child and family well. They may have worked with you to develop an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) and worked with your child at home and/or in their early childhood education and care (ECEC) setting.
This person, who some services refer to as a “key worker”, may be the best person to support you and your child in the transition process.
They could offer support by:
- talking to your child about school – what it will be like, what they will do at school and who they can approach for help.
- talking with you about:
- your goals and vision for your child’s education
- your thoughts and questions about schools
- accompanying you on visits to look at possible schools
- assisting you to complete application and/or enrolment forms
- providing programmes which support you to help your child to develop school readiness skills
- discussing your child’s strengths, needs and strategies to support their learning with school staff
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) Service (eg preschool or day care teacher or carer)
If your child has been attending preschool or child care, their teacher or carer may be a useful person to have on your team.
In ECEC settings children are encouraged to become as independent as possible, follow a daily routine, and interact with other children. These are skills that will be useful at school. A preschool or child care teacher will know how your child manages these activities and how they respond in a larger group of children.
Your child’s teacher or carer may have developed specific strategies which are already working to support your child’s learning. Sharing what has worked for a child in one setting can assist the school greatly in understanding how to best support your child.
They could offer support by:
- talking with you about your thoughts and questions about schools
- attending transition planning meeting/s
- inviting school staff to visit their setting to observe your child
- if needed, providing written information about your child’s learning through a brief written report
Diagnostic and Assessment Service
It can be helpful to have had some form of assessment in the year before your child starts school. Assessments may be completed by a:
- speech pathologist
- occupational therapist or
Assessments may be formal or informal.
Click here for more information on assessments.
Assessment information can assist in planning for your child’s transition to school by:
- describing your child’s disability in professional terms
- confirming their eligibility for certain programmes such as support classes or special schools
- describing their needs and the types of supports that may assist in the school environment
Assessment reports may also include information from questionnaires you have completed about your child or discussions the professional has had with you about your child’s development and progress.
Support Staff associated with the school system
There are a number of support professionals who may become involved in the transition process. The support staff vary between educational systems. Before your child starts school, here are the most likely support staff to be involved.
NSW Department of Education
|Catholic systemic schools||Independent schools|
Support staff could help by:
- talking with you about your child’s strengths and needs
- talking with early childhood intervention professionals about the strengths and needs of the child
- visiting your child in their ECEC setting
- attending transition to school planning meeting/s
- visiting your child in their school setting once your child starts
Initially, the school principal and/or assistant principal will be your main contacts in the school. Once your child’s teacher has been identified, they may be included in the transition team. However, it is possible that you may not know who will be your child’s teacher until your child starts school.
School staff could offer support by:
- arranging transition to school planning meeting/s
- allocating time for staff to participate in transition planning
- receiving information from parents as well as from professionals who have worked with your child
- completing any funding applications
- allocating funding to support your child’s participation in the school
- liaising with any support staff within the school system or outside e.g. early childhood intervention or early childhood education and care professionals
See also Who is who at school? for more information on staff roles in schools.