Transition: Research and Early Childhood Transitions

1325 Words Nov 3rd, 2013 6 Pages
Transitions are now recognised as central to young children’s experiences and well-being, as well as a powerful integrative framework for research. This review surveys major conceptual tools that shed light on different aspects of early childhood transitions. The objectives are twofold: 1) to review major research perspectives on early childhood transitions and 2) to identify significant trends (and gaps) in the knowledge base of scholarly as well as professional studies. The findings of the review point to the value of widening perspectives on transitions in order to inform integrated and contextualised child-focused policy and programming.
The major purpose of the review is to assist the Bernard van Leer Foundation and
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Less attention has been paid by educational researchers to what are sometimes referred to as ‘education-associated transition processes’ (Fabian and Dunlop, 2007: 11), those less-formal changes in children’s lives and routines that occur outside institutional settings. Nonetheless, these apparently ‘peripheral’ changes may in fact crucially and continuously shape children’s experiences and pathways, and be very ‘central’ in shaping children’s life trajectory and well-being. Indeed, these key social transitions during the life course have been routinely studied by anthropologists working within a very different paradigm and most often within non-western societies where childhood has until recently been less decisively shaped by age-related institutions and laws. Social transitions are just as significant, seen as critical thresholds and often referred to as ‘rites of passage’, a term originally introduced by Van Gennep (1960). These transitions are rooted in local belief systems and typically expressed through rituals (e.g., circumcision, first communion) that may or may not be organised by formal institutions (Morrow, 2003: 268).
Horizontal transitions are less distinctive than vertical transitions and occur on an everyday basis. They refer to the movements children (or indeed any human being) routinely make between various spheres or domains of their lives (e.g., everyday movements between home and school or from
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