Cowgate part of international transitions research project

Social and emotional experiences from the first year of transition from home to an early years setting for infants, their families and teachers: An international cross-cultural study (from 2016 onwards)

Contributing countries:

Lead Researchers: Helen Marwick (Scotland) & Jayne White (New Zealand)

Contributing Researchers: Marion Burns & Lynn McNair (Scotland); Kristin Karlsdottir & Hronn Palmadottir (Iceland); Bridgette Redder & Maureen Kumeroa (NZ) with others to be invited from Sweden, Australia, USA, England (yet to be formalised).

What is the purpose of this investigation?

This international multi-site study aims to examine the everyday activities, interactions and engagement of young infants, their families and teachers as infants move into and between educational contexts over the first six years of their lifespan, with subsequent follow-up. Starting with the first year of their transition from home to their first early years setting between aged 6 months to 1 year of age.

Each contributing country will generate data across 3-5 educational sites that represent the transition experiences for their youngest (for example, home-based, education and care mixed age, education and care single age, language immersion services).

Early years’ transition experiences are of paramount importance for children’s developmental outcomes. They establish important dispositional approaches to life long learning and future attitudes to change. The intersubjective experiences that take place between the different sites infants locate set the scene for significant learning and perceptions of self.

The key focus of the study is therefore to understand the perspectives of infants, their families and teachers during transitions based on i) observation of activities and interactions of young children in the ECE setting as they experience their everyday activities, in order to identify the types of activities and interactions which promote high quality engagement for a child, and support their transitions into out-of-home care; and ii) interviews with families and teachers.

We aim to observe (using time-sampling methods) and video-record (up to two hours on each day) the activities of one focus infant per setting; and their interactions with other children in the same space. We will also interview the key teacher and parent(s) over various parts of the process. Interviews will be audiotaped. The proposed international multi-site study design will enable cross-cultural comparisons to be made concerning transition experiences, their relationship to curriculum goals such as well-being and belonging; alongside the intersubjective relationships that take place across sites for all participants, especially infants.

If you would like to find out more please contact Lynn McNair