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Press Release – Positive Transitions

Press Release - Positive Transitions


2020 Day One at the ELC (Early Learning Centre) of Norwest Christian College and the happy little girl was bubbling with excitement to begin the day’s adventure. With a perfunctory hug and kiss for Mum, she ran off to explore her new environment. I watched the brave Mum hold back her tears and with trembling lips called to her child’s vanishing back, “See you this afternoon-I love you!”

Most attention is given to preparing young children for long day care or pre-school, sustaining them through the transition and until emotional comfort is established in the educational centre. However, many parents struggle with the transition. I sensed that Mum wondering how her daughter could be so relaxed, blasé about leaving her Mother.

At Norwest Christian College there are four major transitions and careful planning and preparation goes into each of them. The first and earliest of these is the transition into the ELC; followed by transitions from the ELC to Infants (Primary); Primary to Secondary; and Secondary to post school pathways. With each successive transition students are expected to develop more independence and self-reliance and assume more personal responsibility for organising themselves at home and at school.

NWCC education is based on the belief that children are created in the image of God and the College is responsible for their care but that parents are the primary educators of children. The care and education of enrolled students is a partnership between the College and parents. That partnership is initially established as children are prepared for transition to the ELC; meetings with parents are supplemented by extended visits by children and parents to familiarise themselves with learning spaces, teachers, resources and procedures.

Parents are encouraged to prepare their child well before starting at the ELC; talking over experiences of visits and gaining their child’s ‘help’ in sewing on name tags and selecting and packing morning tea and lunch. This frees the parent to focus on their child and how they are feeling. Parents are encouraged to stay with their child for a brief time for the first few days and to always say “good bye”, not just ‘vanish’.

The NWCC ELC fosters strong relationships between parents and teachers.  Children who see you trust ELC teachers are more likely to also trust the teacher and will be secure in their day care setting. However, parents are encouraged to develop routines for ELC mornings and for ‘saying goodbye’. Parents are also advised to monitor their child as they settle into the ELC. If the child is happy to go each morning, brings home and shows craft items made there and chats about their day, then life changes will have been successfully negotiated.

The transition from the ELC to primary school is marked by familiarisation visits by students to Kindergarten classrooms and learning and playing together. ELC students participate in NWCC Mothers Day Morning Tea, Grandparents Day, interaction with Kindergarten students in the library and joint activities with Kinder students in their classrooms. ELC students become familiar with the whole college site and with older and bigger students. Secondary students assist in ELC and younger, smaller students learn to trust them.

There are interviews and meetings between ELC parents and the Director of Primary and orientation visits and general meetings for parents. NWCC ensures new primary parents understand procedures, especially contact methods and how kindergarten learning and teaching differs to the ELC. NWCC kindergarten teachers are sensitive to the needs of new students entering the college and specific attention is given to helping them settle into their classes. NWCC always provides a welcoming, positive and family oriented environment.

Many students enter NWCC in Year 7, in addition to those who transition from the college’s Year 6. NWCC Year 6 participate in a transition program to help them readjust to high school; the move becomes a seamless operation and students are well prepared for learning with different subject teachers, changing classrooms and a growing emphasis on individual responsibility.

New students may be positively challenged and the transition will be a time of excitement and new experiences. Other new Year 7 may be nervous about making new friends, different routines, expectations of uniform, finding their way around, being ‘smart enough’ or ‘fitting in’. NWCC conducts a transition program where all these concerns are addressed and demystified. Anxious students are soon transformed into confident and achieving learners. Mr Daryl Hinton, Head of Secondary Years, said: “Starting high school is a huge step in a student’s life and we support Year 7 to enjoy a successful beginning experience. This is so important to subsequent learning and achievement and developing strength of purpose”.

The final NWCC transition is guiding senior students to pathways post school. This process begins in the early years of high school and concludes with Year 12 choosing a pathway after HSC. For some students their choice is university, TAFE or other colleges; some students choose a twelve months Christian mission, travel or work prior to tertiary study. Year 11 students participate in work experience and attend Careers Markets. The college Careers Adviser also conducts a vigorous counselling program with senior students and other academic and welfare teachers give appropriate guidance. Senior students also have the opportunity to participate in YOHU, a youth entrepreneurial activity of the Sydney Hills Business Chamber.

All transitions conducted by Norwest Christian College demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of students and work in collaboration with parents. The beginning of this document recalled the tearful Mother farewelling her little one rushing into the ELC. Parents may confidently know their children, at whatever transition level, will be cared for and helped to successfully settle into their new surroundings. And new Year 7 parents, expect your children to want you to be less visible and perhaps, no public kiss goodbye. This is quite normal; accept it as a compliment that your child is learning to be more independent!

Craig Laffin OAM
Director of Development

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