The Talking Transitions project has been a year – long Communication and Language focused project bringing schools and their neighbouring settings together to build on and develop a smooth transition process for their children moving into Primary School. The schools and settings involved formed ‘satellite’ groups, named after the respective A Better Start Southend ward in which they were located. In October 2019, the 17 settings came together to undertake some collaborative learning, and all practitioners involved have now successfully completed the 10 week Level 3 Elklan Speech and Language Support training for 3-5’s programme!

Before COVID-19 government measures were put in place, the next stage of the project would have seen Reception class teachers visiting the children they would be receiving in September.  However, all settings involved in the project regularly ‘met up’ virtually to find ways to share key transitional information about the children and their communication and language needs. It is fantastic that even in times of great challenge such as these, the project has been able to make progress in supporting transitioning children, their families and the settings that they attend.

In recent months, the Talking Transitions project has seen even more collaborative working, as the settings have created innovative Communication and Language focused transition packs for each of their satellite settings. These packs replaced Communication and Language themed community events that each satellite had previously considered delivering as the final stage of the project, but again couldn’t occur due to the pandemic. The packs contain a range of transitional themed activities centred on Communication and Language such as a bespoke ‘walk to school lottery’ game, story books around the theme of transition and starting school and even links to online storytellers (who have independently developed stories for this very project). The range of resources encourage the children and families to create their own versions of the online stories at home, to share with their teachers when they start in September. Each pack also contained a personalised ‘goodbye’ note from the children’s current practitioner, and a ‘welcome’ note from their new teacher, in order to ease anxiety around the transitional period.

The packs have all recently been gifted to the children and families and the feedback so far has been incredibly positive, from practitioners and parents alike.

One parent wrote: “….I read the lovely letter from Mrs M to Harry (I had some tears!) Thank you – it was lovely! I will of course be returning the favour with a tear-jerking letter in due course…I have also read the letter from Harry’s new teachers to him and he seems very happy… he absolutely loves the book and we will watch Hannah’s story and use the googly eyes. Thank you so much…”

One practitioner involved in the project said, “everyone has played their part in helping to make the children’s transition to school a happy one, in extraordinarily difficult circumstances…..thank you all!”

Due to the success of this pilot, we are delighted to announce that we will be launching ‘Talking Transitions’ Phase 2, inviting other ABSS settings to join this fully funded initiative in the new academic year. Watch this space!

 

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