Transition practice before entering primary school: A longitudinal study of children with and without special needs across a year
Introduction: The transition to primary school is a significant milestone for children. Transition periods can offer new opportunities to build skills, relationships, and experiences that strengthen self-efficacy. In Singapore, parents play an important role in supporting transition as preschools and primary schools operate independently. Occupational therapists are involved in supporting children with special needs in transitions.
Objective: Focusing on the transition period of getting children ready for primary school, the objectives are (i) to learn about the strategies that parents used for the purpose of transition and understand the intentions behind what they do and (ii) to compare the transition practices and perceived school readiness between parents of children with and without special needs.
Method: A longitudinal study involving 48 parents was conducted over 12 months. Parents completed a survey at the start and end of the year to detect changes from baseline, and semi-structured interviews every two months to gather their subjective experiences and track their child’s readiness for transition. The surveys and interviews were conducted on a mobile instant messaging platform. Coding of responses was guided by school readiness domains identified in earlier studies and Occupational Therapy Practice Framework’s approaches to intervention.
Results: Most parents focused on establishing and maintaining new self-help and academic skills across the year while few were “modifying” or “preventing”. Increasing trends in child readiness were noted for both children with and without special needs.
Conclusion: In family-centred practice, it is important to recognise parents’ expertise and resources.
Journal/Conference/Book titleHong Kong Journal of Occupational Therapy