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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module explores young children’s early transitional experiences with particular reference to the Aistear themes of Well-being and Identity and Belonging. Students engage with the issues of early transitions from a multi-theoretical as well as from a practical stance, through exploring concepts such as continuity and change, separation, attachment. They learn about the key person system implemented in many preschools, and how this facilitates transitions for babies, toddlers and young children in these settings as well as for families. Research which emphasises children’s voices, the construction of identity and the building of relationships between preschools and primary schools provides the basis for students’ considerations of Transition Programmes. The importance of working with parents, families and communities during children’s transitions is examined. Ways of developing and supporting children’s feelings of security and confidence during transition to preschool and to primary school are explored.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify the philosophical, physical and social discontinuities that young children may experience on starting preschool or school
2. Discriminate between the supports necessary for children and their families before transition, during transition and during the initial period in a new setting
3. Specify the challenges and issues for early childhood teachers/parents and families in managing transitions for individual children
4. Explain the roles and responsibilities of early childhood teachers/parents and families in supporting transitions for individual children
5. Indicate the type of curriculum, pedagogy and behaviour guidance policies which best serve children in the transition period/early months at primary school
6. Investigate and evaluate transition to school programmes and policies

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Assessment Feedback25No Description
Independent Study76No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

• Transitions in early childhood: What? When? Why?

• The importance of early relationships for secure attachment, a secure base and emotional stability/resilience for children’s well-being generally and especially at times of transition

• Children’s separation distress system: Understanding children’s behaviour at times of transitions

• Attachment figures, including early childhood educators. The importance of warm, affectionate and attuned responses

• The key person approach

• Establishing supportive links between settings and home

• Strategies to support children’s well-being during transition

• Children’s, parents and teachers views on transition

• Transition programmes

• The importance of learning experiences appropriate to the age and stage of development of children, regardless of setting

• Building a loving, caring and respectful community with young children in preschool and school

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Liz Brooker: 2008, Supporting transitions in the early years, 1st, 7, McGraw Hill/Open University Press, Maidenhead, 0335221688
  • Dunlop. A-W. & Fabian, H. (Eds.).: 2007, Informing transitions in the early years, 1st, 11, Open University Press,, Maidenhead, England, 0335220134
  • Peter Elfer, Elinor Goldschmied, Dorothy Y. Selleck: 2012, Key Persons in the Early Years, 2nd, 5, Routledge, London, 0415610397
  • O’Connor, A.: 2013, Understanding transitions in the early years: Supporting change through attachment and resilience, 1st, 6, Routledge, Abington, UK, 0415598583
  • edited by Margaret Kernen and Elly Singer: 2011, Peer relationships in early childhood education and care, 1st, 11, Routledge, New York, 0415574617
  • Peter Elfer, Elinor Goldschmied, Dorothy Y. Selleck: 2011, Key Persons in the Early Years, Routledge, 0415610397
Other Resources

39315, Publication, 0, Growing Up in Ireland - Key Findings: Infant Cohort (at 5 years) No.1 Transition to school among five-year-olds [Online]., http://www.thehealthwell.info/node/668508, 39316, Publication, O'Kane, M. & Hayes, N., 2006, The transition to school in Ireland: Views of preschool and primary school teachers, International Journal of Transitions in Childhood, 2, 4-16, 39317, Website, 0, Charles Sturt University Publications, www.csu.edu.au/research/ripple/research-groups/etc/, 39318, Website, 0, Information Leaflets Going to Preschool: Making the transition to preschool: Tips for parents, Going to big school: Making the transition from early childhood education to primary education., www.earlychildhoodIreland.ie, 39319, Documentary, 0, Observing Child Development : Attachment in Practice. Documentary film :Siren Films, UK,
Programme or List of Programmes