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MODULE 1: Why are warm and inclusive transitions important?

Transition moments are very decisive for a child's life and school career, so research tells us. Positive transitions in which children and families are proactively supported by professionals have long-lasting effects on the well-being and learning of children. A proactive approach is especially important for children and families who experience difficulties in navigating a fragmented educational system.

Every country has its own system of organising ECEC centres and schools. Some countries or regions have a split system — drawing a line between child care centres and (pre-)schools — and others have a more integrated early years system. There are transitions from home to childcare, from home to preschool, from child care to preschool, and from preschool to primary school.

Below you will find research-based materials that demonstrate the importance of warm and inclusive transitions.

Impact on children, families and staff

Impact on children, families and staff

When transitions are proactively dealt with and well-thought out for a diversity of children and families, positive impact can be identified. Find out what you can expect for children, families and staff. 

© VBJK – Caroline Boudry
© VBJK – Caroline Boudry
© VBJK – Caroline Boudry

Children with migration backgrounds

Sustaining warm and inclusive transitions across the early years: insights from the START project

Positive transitions across home, ECEC and compulsory school education (CSE) are critical in promoting children’s development and educational achievement: this seems especially the case for children from migrant backgrounds.  

This article presents the findings from a transnational participatory action research study (START) carried out in four countries (Italy, Slovenia, England, Belgium), discussing how an inclusive transition approach can better address the needs of migrant children and families in a holistic way.  

Sustaining warm and inclusive transitions across the early years: insights from the START project

Transitions in a school career

Study on the effective use of early childhood education and care in preventing early school leaving

In 2014 researchers did a Study on the effective use of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in preventing early school leaving (ESL) for the European Commission. They aimed to collect evidence on how equitable and high-quality ECEC can influence the performance of children in the subsequent stages of education and possibly contribute to the prevention of early school leaving. Transitions in the school system turned out to be crucial moments to support children.

Exclusive Summary

Transition to primary school

Differences in the pedagogical approach in ECEC and primary school practices

Partners from Slovenia, Croatia and Latvia collaborated in the international Erasmus+ project TIM – Transition Is our Mission (2019-2022) to ensure smooth transition of children from ECEC to primary school. One of the purposes of this study was to make the main differences of pedagogical approach clear in ECEC and primary school practices. Are practices more child versus school centered?  Find out the results here.  

Transition is our mission

Transitions in split ECEC systems

Transition between home, neighbourhood, childcare and kindergarten

In split ECEC systems often hard and abrupt transitions happen for children and families, which also puts a lot of stress on the childcare and preschool staff. Find out in this short movie from Belgium (Flanders) why it is according to research important that policy makers invest in warm and inclusive transitions for children and families coming from home or childcare to the preschool environment.  

video: Transition between home, neighbourhood, childcare and kindergarten

Children in preschool transition

Early learning opportunities for children at risk of social exclusion. Inside the black box of preschool practice.

In split ECEC systems children experience stressful transitions between home/childcare and the preschool environment. When transitions are not well thought of, there are periods of survival of the fittest. Find out in observations of two studies what happens to children especially children living in societally disadvantaged situations.  

© VBJK – Caroline Boudry
children in preschool
© VBJK – Caroline Boudry

Parents in preschool transitions

Would it really matter? The democratic and caring deficit in ‘parental involvement’

In split ECEC systems children and their parents experience abrupt transitions between home/childcare and the preschool environment. Find out in these articles how transition to (pre)school is often characterized by an increasing caring and democratic deficit for parents. Parents have many questions on physical and emotional care. Often these questions cannot be addressed since there is limited contact between staff and parents once children are in the school system.  

© VBJK – Caroline Boudry
parents in transition
© VBJK – Caroline Boudry

Staff in preschool transitions

The inconvenience of care in preschool education: examining staff views on educare

In split ECEC systems children and their parents experience abrupt transitions between home/childcare and the preschool environment. Also professionals in the preschool settings seem to struggle with offering age appropriate care and education in a system that understands preschool mainly as preparation for primary school. Find out what their perceptions and experiences are in these articles.  

© VBJK – Caroline Boudry
staff in preschool transition
© VBJK – Caroline Boudry

Systemic literature review

Literature review on transitions across early childhood and compulsory school settings in Europe

As part of the Erasmus+ project START, a systemic literature review was conducted to deepen the understanding of transitions across ECEC settings – and between these and CSE settings. Find out the most important findings of empirical studies carried out in EU Member States over the last decade.  

Literature review on   transitions across early childhood   and compulsory school settings in Europe.