chapter  Six
13 Pages

Beginnings, endings, and times of transition

WithBiddy Youell, Hamish Canham

This chapter seeks to trace some of the major rites of passage that occur between arrival in nursery or reception class and leaving school to join higher education or the world of work. It looks at parallels between these major points of transition and the routine changes in activity that characterize the school day, the school week, and the academic year. An enhanced understanding of the significance of beginnings and endings has always been an aim of applied psychoanalytic thinking. It is crucial not only to the better understanding of each individual child’s response to change, but also in thinking about “whole-school policies”. The first day at school is a very significant milestone in every child’s life. Children are often enthusiastic about becoming “big” boys and girls, but their excitement will be tinged with feelings of uncertainty. Children moving from one part of the education system to the next are seen as moving on to the next stage of life.