Parents of pre-schoolers, THIS is what helps our kids successfully 'Transition to School'

 Jenny Henderson Wed 17 October 18


It can be an equally emotional and daunting time for both parent and child, preparing for 'big school'.

New research is de-bunking some of the myths and misconceptions about what helps our children successfully transition to school.

Here at Parents Guide Illawarra, we spoke to the education experts at Big Fat Smile to help decipher both the existing and new research. As parents, we all want to support and prepare our children to adapt and thrive at Kindergarten and throughout their Primary School years.

So, we have summarised the key findings below for you, courtesy of Big Fat Smile :)

Myth 1
A structured pre-school learning environment focused on numeracy and literacy is what our children need to 'successfully transition' to school.

Research instead found that it is social and emotional competence in our children that better defines how well they handle school. These social and emotional factors are linked with how well your child performs academically at school also.

Myth 2
As long as my child attends a pre-school - they will transition to school just fine

Research has shown that NOT all pre-school programs and centres are created equal. Centres that offer a balanced program that develops children's interpersonal skills, with a mix of fun and educational experiences that encourage a child's creativity, independence, resilience and communication skills, most effectively prepare a child for school.

These findings above have come from a recent study that highlighted children’s school readiness characteristics within six countries (Australia, Austria, Colombia, Germany, Nicaragua and Slovenia) (Niklas et al 2018).

The consensus of important characteristics that were attributed to a smooth transition to school were social, emotional, concentration, language abilities, self-regulated learning and independence as important attributes for a smooth transition. Educators placed numeracy and literacy as significantly less important for a smooth transition to school.

Play based teaching of literacy and numeracy, whilst not always obvious to the child or parent or wider community, is noted as more effective than intentional structured numeracy and literacy teaching.

For example, Big Fat Smile (who took part in Wollongong based research) Centre's encourage literacy, numeracy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning but through fun and engaging experiences that allow children to explore music, movement, art and nature play.

Big Fat Smile Pre-School Centre's are about promoting the creative thinking, interpersonal and communication skills of each child and critically, building relationships with each child from day one, so they feel secure, respected and valued.

Thank you Big Fat Smile for helping us share decipher and share these evidence based findings through sponsoring this article. :)

Big Fat Smile are Early Education Leaders and have 13 child care centres across the Illawarra. Their school readiness programs start from day one of your child's care. For enrolment enquiries call the helpful team on 1300 002 237 or visit








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