Big Changes, Gradual Steps: Transition from Reception to Y1

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By Lorelli Mojica

Early Years Expert Lorelli Mojica shares her top tips for successfully transitioning children from Reception to Year 1.

child and parent walking into school

For a child, Year 1 is a time for more structured learning and the start of their formalised educational journey until they are 18. It is important for all staff to recognise that this is a significant change, and a gradual transition will be the most effective way for our young learners to cope with this change. Preparation for transition to Year 1 needs to be more than just a half a morning event that happens once in the summer term, schools need to take the view that this big change is a process.

Gradual process begins in the summer term

Change can be stressful for some children, even if they appear to be coping with what is about to happen. Children exhibit stress in many different ways, such as anxiety, needing a lot of reassurance and difficulties in behaviour. This change can affect children both emotionally and academically. It is these early experiences of educational change that can impact future achievements and attitudes to education. This is why it is important that staff in both the Early Years and Year 1 work with each other to make the transition for the children as smooth as possible.

Summer term is a good time to gradually begin the process of transition. One way to do this is to study themes like ‘change’ at some point within that term. Both class teachers could share similar stories to explore the theme of ‘change’ and some of these stories could be continued when children start Year 1.

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