Smooth transition from early learning to school
It has been said that every child is gifted, they just unwrap their gifts at different times. Tanunda Lutheran School fosters a strong dedication to developing and challenging every person to reach their full potential – with the right care and timing.
Beginning school can be one of the biggest transitions in a child’s life and, in addition to an intake of Foundation students at the beginning of the year, TLS’ mid-year intake is a fine example of a well timed, positive start to school. The building of strong relationships with each child, however, begins long before and extends far beyond day one of term 3.
TLS’ strong success in positive, seamless transitions into the school environment is the outstanding result of a well connected, highly communicative and reflective team of educators in the interconnected Early Learning Centre and Junior Primary. Principal Darren Stevenson remarks “All of our teachers at TLS are passionate, dedicated educators who work together as a close team to serve the children in their care.”
With a mid-year intake, TLS is one few schools still offering this unique pathway into education. TLS maintains an independent stronghold on putting the developing educational needs of the child before those of the system and keeping in focus the best possible process for each individual child.
For a new class of Foundation students formal transition visits and orientation will begin in June. The children and their families will spend time familiarising themselves with their new routine, their new Foundation teacher, Miss Justine Gallasch, and build relationships within the community.
“The beginning of something new generally holds lots of excitement for children and family members,” explains Mrs Marie Hage, Director of Tanunda Lutheran ELC, “however the new experience also often carries with it some level of anxiety or apprehension.”
Both the ELC and Junior Primary recognize that children come to them with prior knowledge, children at the ELC experience a flexible transition program, tailored to their readiness, interests, strengths and relationships. Reception teacher, Mrs Barbara Watson, notes “The Foundation teachers spend time with ELC educators discussing students’ needs before they begin school to ensure a smooth transition and appropriate support at school.”
Intentionally throughout the year staff also move between the two environments, swapping roles and building relationships.
“Once children have begun their school life, our relationship with the ELC doesn’t change. We are still involved through things such as incidental visits, ‘Investigations’ and teacher swaps. At TLS we don’t see transitions as a ‘one off’, rather as we’re transitioning all the time.”
Tanunda Lutheran School acknowledges that starting school is not just about the first day. It is a process that begins when children and families start to prepare during the year before.
“The most important thing for students when they start school is to feel safe in their new environment where they can further develop their social and emotional skills. Beginning Foundation is probably one of the biggest transitions in a child’s life, as teachers we need to ensure we can build a strong relationship with each child to allow for a successful first year at school.”
Mayah Steinert (5 in June 2016) and Neo Teusner (5), who are amongst the ELC children transitioning to school next term, gave their impressions of what will happen in the coming months:
Neo: “I think I’m going to do lots of reading.”
Mayah: “I’m going to go on visits, and I get to stay for a recess and a lunch. But I will get to come and visit here (the ELC) after too.”