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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ecological factors influencing the successful transition from early childhood to kindergarten : a case study Bruce, Paxton


Background: The first five years of a child’s life shape the trajectory for lifelong health and well-being. One critical experience during early childhood is the transition from early childhood into kindergarten and so it is critically important that we understand what contributes to a child’s transition. Research Design: The aim of this qualitative study was to explore ecological factors that influenced a child’s successful transition from early childhood into kindergarten in the community of Revelstoke. Revelstoke was chosen as the context for this case study as it appeared to be an exemplary case from their Early Development Instrument data. Eleven participants representing various stakeholders in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector were recruited using purposive and snowball sampling to participate in semi-structure interviews conducted virtually. Interviews were analyzed using a deductive/inductive method. Data were organized using a research framework and then themes were developed inductively from within those categories. Findings: Daily efforts that supported a successful transition were focused on creating social opportunities, ensuring programs were accessible and providing continuity between programs using a wrap-around model. Relational approaches that supported a successful transition included creating a welcoming environment, intentional connections, supportive partnerships between professionals and parents, and collaboration between professions. Organizational philosophy that facilitated a successful transition included attention to organizational culture, organizational resource commitments that fostered interprofessional working relationships, a focus on early prevention, an emphasis on quality education and improvement, and the careful use of physical space. Revelstoke’s geography and community context also influenced a child’s transition. Discussion: Revelstoke’s ECD sector’s efforts to support transition were complex, individualized, and intentional. This study demonstrated the impact of a connected, coordinated, and collaborative ECD sector on a child’s successful transition. The nature of the professionals’ efforts was cultivated through the intentional shift in responsibility for children’s readiness from parents to a collaborative responsibility between parents and professionals. Successful transitions were fostered through formal and informal investments led by organizational leaders. This study provided a nuanced description of Revelstoke’s ECD sector’s intentional efforts at each ecological level and their perceptions of how these efforts influenced a child’s transition from early childhood to kindergarten.

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