Transition from Kindergarten to Primary School
One of the many benefits students enjoy at YCIS is that it is a through-train school, meaning what takes place in Early Childhood Education Section (ECE) builds the students’ skills and all-round development for Primary, and from Primary on to Secondary. The beauty of this reassuring pathway is experienced by the children and their parents. Our four-year-olds have priority for a place in Year 1.
At YCIS, Primary Year 1 commences when the child is at least five years old by the start of the academic year. Most of our Year 1 students have come from our ECE Section and the preparation and transition process even begins as early as three years old. During the academic year’s cycle the Primary Co-ordinators and Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SEN) visit the three-year-olds at the last stage of Threes’ Programme; this is just to observe the children and gently interact with them in their comfortable play environment. Discussions amongst the teachers take place and if follow-up chat with any parent is advised, then we have plenty of time to do it. All parents of the four-year-olds are warmly invited to Primary by the Primary Co-Principals and Senior Leadership Team, to gain a deeper insight to life at Primary.
During the children’s final ECE year, the Fours’ Programme, the co-ordinators’ visits commence in the early part of the semester (October); again, this is very informal but offers a great natural way to get to know the children. In the second half of this semester, before the winter holiday, teachers’ observations are discussed in detail about the skills and social development levels identified. At YCIS the social and emotional wellbeing of a child is paramount and we hold dear to the belief that every child can succeed; for some this means adjustment in styles of learning, and perhaps support or extended work for the gifted and talented. From January, in the cycle, the Year 1 English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher visits the four-year-olds, who are now known to be EAL potential students.
In the last part of the semester, this is where the excitement builds! This is the time for the ECE teachers to escort each class of four–year-olds on a special visit to Primary Year 1. There is always a great deal of preparation on both sides for this gentle transition. Recently our four-year-olds made their first on-campus walk-around and also settled down to a story given by Primary teachers. If there are SEN children who need some extra attention, these children can make additional visits. We also acknowledge that Year 1 will accept some new-to-YCIS children so a special visit to Year 1 is arranged. In the last stage of the ECE to Primary transition, children enjoy a “lesson” in “big school” where they progress to sample a light “lesson” which gives them the easy feeling of being able to naturally absorb and adjust themselves in the new environment.