Understanding and enhancing young children’s transitions – Part 1

HomeEarly childhood education resourcesTransitionsUnderstanding and enhancing young children’s transitions – Part 1

Understanding and enhancing young children’s transitions – Part 1

HomeEarly childhood education resourcesTransitionsUnderstanding and enhancing young children’s transitions – Part 1

In this session Sally Peters and Hazel Woodhouse from the University of Waikato explore transitions in the early years and share research findings that help to understand the transitions experienced by young children and their families and the implications of these for practice. We also consider the transition pathways in Te Whāriki and the potential of using digital spaces for enhancing the transition to school. 

To help you navigate the webinar easily, there is a list of the key topics covered in the session below, including the time each was discussed. The key ideas discussed in this webinar are also shared in a short insight article

Topics discussed in this webinar 

Times shown in minutes and seconds from the start of the video 

1.38What transitions occur for children in early childhood? 
5.37Research findings on the transition experiences of children 
12.23Families’ transition experiences 
17.06Using digital tools and technologies to support transitions 
24.53Other implications for practice 
31.17Building relationships with new entrant teachers 
34.10How primary schools can support transitions 
36.54Working with culturally diverse families and learners 
39.47 What if you can’t visit the school the child will attend? 
41.24Length of time required for transition
44.24Assessing when transition between groups is appropriate 
46.20Transition forms and rituals for transition 
49.53Concluding comments

Questions for exploring the key ideas from this webinar 

Would an online space for collaborating and sharing ideas and information about transition work well for your community? Who would it be important to include in this initiative? 

In what creative ways might you use digital technologies to provide families with transition information? How could you ensure that this information was readily accessible at a time that families need it? 

How could you find out what families and children want to know about transition? 

How might you involve children and families in determining what information about the child’s learning and interests to pass on to the next group or school? 

How might you initiate or build on relationships with local schools and kura? 

Further reading 

TKI online: https://tewhariki.tki.org.nz/en/weaving-te-whariki/pathways-and-transitions/ 

Bond, L., Brown, J., Hutchings, J., & Peters, S. (2019). A collaborative approach to transitions in DannevirkeEarly Childhood Folio, 23, 2, 18-23. 

Hoehepa, M. et al. (2017).   Riariakina ō rongo hirikapo: From kōhanga reo to kura. Teaching and Learning Research Initiative final report.  

Peters, S. (2010). Literature review: Transition from early childhood education to school. Report commissioned by the Ministry of Education. Wellington: Ministry of Education.  

Peters, S., Hartley, C., Rogers, P., Smith, J., & Carr, M. (2009). Supporting the transition from early childhood education to school: Insights from one Centre of Innovation project.  SET: Research information for teachers, 3, 4-10.  

Peters, S., Paki, V., & Davis, K. (2015). Learning journeys from early childhood into school. Teaching and Learning Research Initiative final report.   



Hazel Woodhouse

Hazel Woodhouse is a doctoral student at the University of Waikato. As a former new entrant teacher and early years teacher, Hazel is interested in how to provide a supportive transition to school. Her research explores the possibilities of using social media and digital resources to help families engage, be informed, and connect with other transitioning families.


Sally Peters

Associate Professor Sally Peters is Head of School Te Kura Toi Tangata School of Education at the University of Waikato. Sally’s passion for the early years began as an early childhood teacher, and developed further as a researcher in early childhood and school settings. Sally has led a number of projects researching different aspects of transition as children move from early childhood education to school. In 2017 Sally was part of the writing team for the update of the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki, with particular responsibility for the ‘Pathways to School and Kura’ section. She is currently on the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Voices Group for the refresh of the New Zealand Curriculum.


Did you find this article useful?

If you enjoyed this content, please consider making a charitable donation.

Become a supporter for as little as $1 a week – it only takes a minute and enables us to continue to provide research-informed content for teachers that is free, high-quality and independent.

Become a supporter

Close popup Close
Register an Account