Transitioning To Primary School – Survey Says We’re Doing Well
Given most of you migrate to New Zealand for a bit of freedom, lifestyle and education opportunities for your children, a really uplifting and positive report has just been released that shows we are doing an awful lot right when it comes to our children’s early years in school.
Bearing in mind that in New Zealand all children must by law be in school by their sixth birthday, but most start on their fifth, this longitudinal study looked at how the mothers of some 7000 six year olds perceived their child adjusted and coped with the transition from pre-school to primary school.
The study was overwhelmingly positive and here are some highlights:
- Over 90% of mothers reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the effect their child’s current school was having on their educational, social, emotional and physical needs
- Over 90% had adjusted and settled into their new school within one month and 72% reported no difficulties or issues in the transition to primary school
- Around 85% attended their local state (public) Primary School
- The most common class size was between 20 and 25 children (10% were in classes of fewer than 15 children and 6% were in classes of more than 30).
- Some 26% had been exposed to what is called a Modern Learning Environment within the school which sees them having access to open and flexible learning spaces and advanced technology
- Around three quarters live within 5km of their local school yet some 68% are delivered to school by private car, 3% rode a bike to school and 15% walked (pathetic!)
- Some 88% of mothers were actively involved in some way with their children’s school
- Around 51% of children get free milk at school and 10% are supplied with breakfast
- Close to 25% attended after school care (at the school) till their parents could pick them up and 8% were in care before school begins of a morning
- The single most important factor in the transition was the teacher. Around 12% of children had at least two teachers in their first year and the report suggests that this needs to be looked at given the relative importance of the teacher in the process of transitioning from a pre-school environment to a primary school and how the children adapt.
Class sizes are growing as more schools adopt the Modern Learning Environment. I read an interesting paper on what these are, as they are not viewed as necessarily universally beneficial and as with all things education in this country, everyone has an opinion.
An increasingly mobile workforce saw a surprising 12% of children experiencing a change of school in their first year and close to two-thirds had moved house at least once by the time they were five.
Apparently, the children are going to be surveyed to see if their reality mirrors their mother’s perceptions.
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