Shifting the Lens: Re-Framing the View of Learners and Learning During the Transition From Early Childhood Education to School in New Zealand
Each year, around the world, children enter the school system for the fi rst time. In New Zealand enrollment is continuous throughout the year and children usually start school on or just after their 5th birthday. A high proportion of these children will have attended one or more early childhood services (Ministry of Education, 2008). Curriculum documents are one of the many interwoven aspects of the sociocultural milieu as children make the transition from early childhood education to school. The impact of curriculum will be discussed in this chapter, drawing on fi ndings from a number of research projects that the author has been involved in. These projects include a 3-year Teaching and Learning Research Initiative exploring learning dispositions and key competencies in early childhood and school settings (Carr et al., 2008) and a 3-year Centre of Innovation project looking at transitions and ‘border crossing’ (Hartley, Rogers, Smith, Peters, & Carr, forthcoming). Findings from these recent studies will be compared with earlier data from the author’s Ph.D., an interpretive study of the children making transition to school (Peters, 2004). The chapter highlights the potential of the 2007 New Zealand school curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007), with its focus on key competencies, for re-framing views of learners, supporting children’s transitions, and opening dialogue between teachers in the ‘borderland’ between sectors. Although the research is based in New Zealand, the theoretical ideas have relevance in other contexts.