How Children Make Sense of the Transition to Year 1

Caroline Sharp , Gabrielle White

31 August 2005

Recent theoretical conceptions of transition have emphasised the key influence of educational transition on young children’s learning. The Foundation Stage was established in England in 2000, creating a distinct phase of education for children aged three to five, which spans the transition to school. In the Foundation Stage children learn through an integrated play-based pedagogy. When children make the transition to Year 1, they experience a subject-based curriculum and a more ‘formal’ teaching style. This paper presents findings from a research project conducted in 2004, which aimed to improve understanding about how best to support children’s learning during the transition to Year 1. The paper focuses on data from interviews with children in an attempt to explore the significance of the transition from their point of view. The findings suggest that most children adapted well to the transition but that the changes in curriculum and pedagogy impacted on their enjoyment of learning in Year 1.

This presentation was given at the EECERA Annual Conference held on 31 August to 3 September 2005 in Dublin.