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Transition to school

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In the year before your child starts school

The people working with your child can become an early learning team to support your child’s transition to school. You are a member of this team. Talk with the team about what you would like to happen for your child’s transition to school this year.

Discuss which schools your child could attend and organise to visit these schools. Ask your team to help if you like.

Decide which options you prefer for your child. Discuss the required enrolment procedures with the special education consultant.

Make an appointment with school principals to talk about your child’s enrolment. The principal or member of staff may meet with your team.

You and your child may be involved in an orientation program at school. People who have supported your child may share program information with the school with your approval. The school may provide suggestions to help your child prepare for next year.

Beginning school is a big step for all children and their families. This transition may present many challenges for a child with a hearing loss. The speed and ease of adjustment for all concerned can be facilitated through careful planning and preparation.

When can my child start school?
  • In most states and territories, children should have started school by the age of 6 years.
  • It is best to contact your local school at least six months before you plan to enrol your child. This gives you and the school time to consider how best to support your child. It also lets the school know how many children to plan for in the coming year.
But my child has a hearing loss…

Your child’s needs may be met through a range of services including:

  • Regular classes
  • Regular classes with specialist support
  • Special classes within regular schools
  • Special schools

Schools need:

  • To know about your child’s hearing loss and special learning needs before enrolment
  • Time to prepare for your child’s needs
  • It is best to start enrolment procedures as soon as you can during the year before your child is to start school

What do I need to do?

  • If your child attends a pre-school, early intervention program or a child care centre, talk to the director about school enrolment.
  •  If your child doesn’t attend an early intervention program or a child care centre, make an appointment to talk to the principal of your local school or the school you think may be suitable for your child.
Families can facilitate the transition process by:
  • Initiating or participating in the process at whatever level of involvement they prefer
  • Talking with early childhood personnel about their expectations for their child’s entry into school
  • Sharing information about their child’s strengths, needs and interests
  • Completing the transition to school referral form and making available information required to assist in planning educational program
  • Attending and participating in meetings of early learning support team
  • Supporting the teacher and school community as they develop an understanding of your child

The early learning support team has a shared responsibility to work collaboratively to support the family with decision making and the development of a transition-to-school plan.

Related articles

Information supplied by:
NSW Department of Education and Training Disability Programs
Extract from “Transition to school for young children with special learning needs: guidelines for families, early childhood services and schools” NSW Department of School Education, 1997.

Reproduced with permission.




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