Embracing the Transition from Preschool to Primary School


In this edition of the LINC blog, Izabela Kuczkowska, a LINC Graduate, delves into the poignant journey of children transitioning from preschool to primary school. Through her narrative, she unveils the careful steps and supportive measures taken by educators to ensure this significant milestone is both smooth and memorable for every child.

Exploring the Power of Communities of Practice in Early Years Education

 It’s time to say Good-bye 
Our year has come to an end. 
I’ve made more cherished memories 
And many more new friends. 
I’ve watched your children learn and grow 
And change from day to day. 
I hope that all the things we’ve done 
Have helped in some small way. 
So it’s with happy memories 
I send them out the door, 
With great hope and expectations 
For what next year holds in store. 

—Maria Cuellar-Munson 


As Early Years Educators, we have the privilege of witnessing the wonderful journey of children’s growth and their transition from preschool to primary school. This remarkable moment is the opening of a new chapter in their lives, filled with excitement, growth, and endless possibilities. At our preschool, we understand the importance of providing support and guidance during this momentous time.

In this blog post, I will share some of the ways and approaches we find effective in supporting children through this transition, ensuring it is a positive and memorable experience for each child.


Focus on a Child-Led, Strengths-Based Approach:

We embrace a strengths-based approach by involving children in the planning process for their graduation. We care deeply about the children’s voices, which is why we make sure to understand their preferences for their graduation theme. This year, the children enthusiastically chose a “dinosaurs” theme. With this choice guiding us, we focused our activities and art projects on highlighting the children’s strengths and creativity. The children were encouraged to create their own dinosaur-themed art, with our support available as needed. We sang songs together, making this a collaborative and joyful experience. Our goal is to ensure that this milestone is celebrated in the most fun and engaging way, empowering the children to take pride in their accomplishments and contributions. 

Social Stories and Storytelling:

To support children in understanding what to expect on their first days in primary school, we share social stories with them. These stories are incredibly valuable tools for preparing children for new experiences, such as meeting new friends, navigating a different environment, and adjusting to new routines. We also discuss with the children aspects of their new school experience that they may be excited, curious, or concerned about as they arise, and incorporate these into the social stories that we create, such as lunchtime, playground activities, or classroom settings. This creates a safe space for open dialogue and addressing any apprehensions they may have. This approach not only helps the children feel more in control and confident about the transition but also ensures that their needs and preferences are respected and met.

Teacher Visits in Preschool / Building Connections Between Preschool and Primary School: 

We recognise the importance of building bridges between our preschool and the local primary schools, and visits from the primary school teachers are something the children really look forward to and enjoy. Through these visits, children begin to establish a sense of connection and start building positive relationships, easing their transition to primary school.

During these visits, the primary school teachers engage in various activities with the children, such as storytelling and interactive games. These activities are designed to be fun and engaging, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that helps to alleviate any fears or anxieties the children might have about moving to primary school. For example, teachers might read a popular storybook, followed by a discussion where children can ask questions about what primary school will be like. This not only provides a comforting glimpse into their future but also allows the children to voice their concerns and curiosities in a safe environment. The primary school teacher can tell the children that this book is also in the primary school classroom and they can read it again when they begin primary school.


School Tour: 

A trip to the primary school is a vital component of the transition from preschool to primary school, designed to help children become acquainted with their new environment in a relaxed and enjoyable manner. During these visits, children are given the opportunity to explore various areas of the primary school, including classrooms, playgrounds, the library, and other essential facilities. This first-hand experience is instrumental in alleviating any anxiety they may have about entering a new and unfamiliar setting.

Children get to visit the classrooms where they will soon be learning. They can see the desks, the learning materials, and the artwork displayed on the walls. Often, current students will be present to talk about their experiences and answer any questions the pre-schoolers might have. This interaction provides valuable insights into daily school life and helps to demystify the classroom environment. Teachers may also organise small activities or games during these visits to make the experience engaging and memorable.

Playgrounds are crucial areas for children, as they provide a space for socialising and physical activity. During the tours, children can explore the playgrounds, try out the equipment, and get a feel for the outdoor play spaces. Knowing where they can play and relax during breaks gives them something to look forward to and helps them feel more at ease about their new school. Staff members might organise play sessions to help children familiarise themselves with playground rules and routines.

During the school tours, children have opportunities to meet their future teachers and other school staff. These interactions are vital for building early connections and establishing a sense of familiarity.


Uniqueness of Every Child: 

We understand the uniqueness of every child during this transition. We work closely with parents and utilise resources such as visual aids, social stories, and collaborative play to help children become familiar with the changes ahead. We create plans to ensure that each child feels supported and prepared. During the transition from preschool to primary school, it is crucial to acknowledge and celebrate every achievement, no matter how small. We praise the children’s efforts, progress, and resilience in the build-up to the transition. By celebrating milestones together, we reinforce each child’s sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that motivates children to continue striving and helps build their self-confidence.


Memorable Graduation / Celebration: 

Finally, we dedicate ourselves to creating a memorable graduation experience for our pre-schoolers, understanding the importance of celebrating their achievements and bidding them farewell on a positive note. Our themed graduations, such as the Space theme we had in 2022, and our Dinosaur theme in 2023, transformed the preschool environment into a magical world of excitement. Children are deeply involved in this process, starting with selecting the theme for their graduation. We focus on activities and art projects related to this theme together. The children are encouraged to create their own decorations and artwork, with our support available as needed.

They also contribute to planning special elements of the celebration, such as selecting songs to practise and perform. We invite their ideas for fun surprises and activities, like the ice cream van visit that was a hit last year. Through these vibrant celebrations, filled with laughter, joy, and personal touches chosen by the children, we hope to associate their preschool experience with happiness and fond memories.

With a heavy heart but also with excitement for the new adventure that awaits them in primary school, we ensure that each child’s transition from preschool to primary school is filled with optimism and a solid foundation for future growth. It is truly an honour to be part of this journey, and we cherish the collaborative efforts that make these celebrations so special and memorable for everyone involved.


Izabela Kuczkowska

Izabela Kuczkowska

Early Years Educator


Izabela works as an Early Years Educator based in Galway. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Family Science studies in Poland in 2012 and since then she has become passionate about holistically supporting children in their early year adventures.

In 2023, Izabela completed the LINC Programme, further enhancing her skills and awareness in the field. She is constantly seeking opportunities to deepen her knowledge and stays up to date with the latest research and practices.

Izabela’s primary goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment that feels like a second home to the children. She strongly believes in fostering an inclusive and safe space that empowers children to develop a strong sense of self-confidence and sense of belonging.

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