Start­ing school made eas­ier


Mak­ing the move from early child­hood learn­ing cen­tres to school can be daunt­ing for chil­dren, but an East­ern South­land pro­gramme be­ing used to make it eas­ier has been so suc­cess­ful it will now be tri­alled in other ar­eas.

New en­trant teach­ers and early child­hood teach­ers work to­gether in the A Pos­i­tive Start pro­gramme, which is fa­cil­i­tated by Re­source Teach­ers Learn­ing and Be­hav­iour and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

The pro­gramme in­cludes vis­its be­tween pre-schools, kinder­gartens, play­cen­tres, ru­nun­gas and schools so that chil­dren feel com­fort­able in both en­vi­ron­ments, and feel sup­ported when they move to school, Mataura School new en­trant teacher Dana Turn­bull said.

‘‘It gives us all an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of how each sec­tor works so we can all work to­gether.

‘‘It’s re­ally ben­e­fi­cial to us in the pri­mary sec­tor.’’

Turn­bull hosted other new en­trant teach­ers in her class­room last week, where she gave a pre­sen­ta­tion about the pro­gramme.

‘‘It was a re­ally nice way to net­work and share ex­pe­ri­ences. We’re all on the same page and we all want the best for our chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.’’

Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion na­tional di­rec­tor David Wales said the Min­istry was re­ally pleased that the Pos­i­tive Start pro­gramme was mak­ing such a dif­fer­ence to the chil­dren and teach­ers who have taken part.

‘‘Hav­ing been run twice in Gore and South In­ver­cargill it’s al­ready prov­ing to be very suc­cess­ful in bring­ing early child­hood cen­tres and schools to­gether to de­velop a shared un­der­stand­ing of what pos­i­tive tran­si­tions look like.’’

It has led closer work­ing re­la­tion­ships for ev­ery­one in­volved, he said.

‘‘The early child­hood and school teach­ers in­volved in Pos­i­tive Start have told us that it has in­creased their skills and con­fi­dence, as well as given them a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing about the dif­fer­ences be­tween the early child­hood cur­ricu­lum and the pri­mary to cur­ricu­lum.’’

The pro­ject team in South­land is look­ing at en­gag­ing more schools and early child­hood cen­tres in A Pos­i­tive Start in 2017. A Pos­i­tive Start costs are shared within ex­ist­ing fund­ing, and the pro­ject team would like to ac­knowl­edge a small grant from Mataura Li­cens­ing Trust which con­trib­uted to some of the costs for train­ing.

Teach­ers Danielle Hur­ley, Dana Turn­bull, Leah Heaps and Ni­cole Weir at an A Pos­i­tive Start meet­ing at Mataura School.

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