Induction to school and transitions through Key Stage One : practice and perceptions
The thesis is about children's experience of the induction to Reception class and the transitions that they make through Key Stage One. It draws on the work of van Gennep (1960), Vygotslcy (1978), Laevers (1997) and Bruner (1996) to explore rites of passage, well-being and acculturation that take place during induction and transitions. The data is gathered mainly by semi-structured interviews to gain the perceptions of fifty children, their parents and teachers about the process of the children's (and their parents') induction at two schools in a town in Shropshire. Children are admitted to the schools in the term before their fifth birthday, thus there are three intakes a year. Children from each of the groups in both schools are included in the study. The research began just before the children started their induction programme in the term before they entered full-time schooling in the academic year 1994/1995. It explores preparations and concerns before starting school and as the children become incorporated into school life. The study goes on to examine the views of twenty-four of these children, their parents and teachers, about the transitions that the children make from the end of their reception class until they leave Key Stage One in July 1997. It also looks at the changes made to the induction programmes during this time. This is a relatively unresearched area and the study uncovered a number of critical factors that have not been brought together or presented in this way before. The main findings identify that the amount, and nature of, information given to parents and children is crucial before and during induction and transitions. If it is right then anxieties about the unknown are reduced, resulting in children's and parents' emotional well-being. The importance of a supportive friend during transitions is also highlighted. A further finding discloses that, far from parental partnership building throughout children's time in school, it decreases due to a lack of clarity about what it entails.