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Transition to school

 Quick Summary

Transitioning to school can be a daunting experience for children and their families. Whether you have chosen a mainstream school, dual enrolment or home-schooling, one of the things that will help you to have positive experiences during this time is being well informed about your circumstances and needs, your options, and the supports and services available to you.

You can choose to:


Build a relationship with the school and/or the schooling community:

– have a conversation with the principal, or if home or distance schooling, the Tasmanian Home Education Advisory Council (THEA) or the Home Education Association about some of the ways that you might be able to work towards a flexible approach for your child;

– seek out other parents and community groups in your area;

– help your child to form friendships with others who will be starting school;

– develop relationships with professionals (these may be available within the school), e.g., autism consultants, deaf and hearing impaired or vision services, speech and language pathologists, and support teachers.

Put together a team that can help you with the transition. This may include:

– family members;

– professionals (e.g. your early intervention service, early childhood education service, psychologists or allied health professionals that can provide information about your child);

– other parents (they might have experiences that you can draw from);

– school representatives (e.g. teachers, guidance officers, and support staff);

– family advocates.

Prepare for meetings. Put together a folder of important information:

– previous assessments and reports;

– examples for success/stories (these might be about your own child or other children);

– information about your child (e.g. specific educational, socialisation needs);

– contacts of professionals (current, and those who have worked with your child in the past). See Get Started for a handy Finding Your Way template – My Network of Support;

– a copy of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and the Disability Standards for Education for those tricky conversations.

Prepare your child for the transition:

– read stories about school. You might even like to create your own stories with real photos;

– enrol in your local “Launching into Learning” program. This is a free program supports children’s learning for those aged 0-4. See Get Started for more information;

– visit the school with your child. Introduce them to the playground and the classroom and meet the teacher. You might like to do this a few times, depending what is right for you and your child.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to go about transitioning your child to school, and you can make changes as time goes on to adapt your vision to your child’s changing needs. You can get ideas and examples of things that worked for children from other families and professionals.

Once you have chosen the school and or the method of enrolment for your child, there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your child experiences a smooth transition to school.


One of the most common aspects of successful transition stories is that a community approach has been taken. This means that significant people with relevant knowledge about a young person have worked together to ensure a successful transition.

Take a look at the Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) website. They have some great information that can help you to develop a community approach.

There is a list of helpful books for your own preparation, and story books that you can share with your child to help them know what to expect. There are also downloadable resources including checklists for your planning, templates for you to create your own personal stories for your child, and videos that will help you to see how a community-wide approach to this transition will benefit your family.

You know your child/children better than anyone else, so it can be helpful to put together a list of their strengths and areas for development and the goals that you have for them before they start school.

You can also download the A FINDING YOUR WAY TEMPLATE – My Network of Support

This will be a helpful record for you and others about your hopes and desires for your child, and will also assist with some of the decisions that you make now and into the future.

Other helpful links:

THEAC website

HEA website

A Guide to the Disability Discrimination Act

Disability Standards for Education


Here you can find a simple list of the best actions to take if you are interested in this topic:

1 . Build relationships with significant others who have specific roles in your child’s life and important knowledge and expertise.

2 . Build a relationship with the school and/or the schooling community.

3 . Pull together a team of significant people made up of people from the school and those already known to you and your child to help with the transition.

4 . Prepare your folder with all the documents and information that will assist others to understand your child’s needs.

5 . Prepare your child for the transition.