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.