Children’s development into adulthood is made up of a series of transitions that enable their emotional and intellectual growth and development and a sense of self  and place.   Every transition has particular challenges, new levels of expectations, new friends, new location, rules and behaviours and an ever evolving skill set.  Each new transition builds on the previous range of experiences and the quality of those experiences impact on the transition experience.  

The transition from primary school to secondary school poses particular challenges to young people it is the end usually of an eight year cycle where the child has established a set of friends an understanding of a system, curriculum and teaching methodology. It also coincides with the advent of adolescents and the shifting and realignments of core influence from the home to include the larger world.

All of the literature and research agree on the impact of a successful transition to second level is when the individual child finds their place; in the new school, among their new peers and in adapting to the new approaches to learning and in their active participation in curricular and extra curricular activities.

All Transition Programmes whatever the FORMAT have a common set of short term OUTCOMES and these include

  1. Information; on the school, on supports that are available and required organisational skills e.g. timetables, homework, schedules, etc.
  2. Sense of Self; increased self worth , confidence in their rights and own abilities
  3. Relationships; establishing a positive relationship with teachers/ school and peers
  4. Engagement; are actively engaged in all aspects of school life e.g. attendance, completing homework, involved in school extracurricular activities

Also the INPUTS are common to all transition programmes although particular activities and emphasis will alter depending on the individual make of the group and resources available but include;

  1. Location; not just about the Big School where it is and what there and how you get about but it is also about the primary school and closure
  2. Organisation; Timetables, books, homework, doing it, recording it, sports gear notes home etc
  3. Character Development; a bit of me time, what I like, don't like, concerns and hopes for big school, choices and consequences
  4. Relationships; teachers, older pupils, adults, cyber relations, communication skills, inappropriate relationships
  5. Peers; Good friends/ bad friends, bullying in all forms, peer pressure, gangs, gender
  6. Support Systems; parents, form tutors, trusted adult, support services, youth,hse, sport

Transition Programmes  are structured learning opportunities for children to enquire, reflect and explore their views and knowledge of leaving primary school and entering second level. It is is important to make time for whole-group enquiry or discussion, pair work, collaborative small group and individual activity. The following points are key elements for the delivery of effective TP programmes:

  1. Ensuring there is a safe learning environment where children  believe that errors and mistakes are an essential part of effective learning.
  2. Use distancing techniques to encourage objectivity.
  3. The use of ‘warm ups’ and energisers –.
  4. The use of collaborative group challenges
  5. Facilitated group enquiry
  6. Experiential learning through a range of structured and active learning opportunities.
  7. Questions for reflection and enquiry
  8. Recognising that learning will only take place if opportunity is provided for the pupils/students to share their experiences.
  9. Encouraging independence.
  10. Using plenary format.

A fuller explanation available here

A planned Transition Programme can many formats, the format is dependent on what is already available in terms of school delivery of transition programmes in 6th class and in 1st year and on the resources and time that you have available.

The primary planning tool for the IYF TP is the Logic Model however given that it is a transition programme that is being planned the outcomes are predetermined.

What is been presented here are the units, the contents of the units, worksheets, activities etc but how they are configured needs to be determined.

Block Format

These units can be delivered as a 6th class summer project over a period of five days. These units can be delivered as part of an existing summer projects but targeted at 6th class children.

IYF "Stepping up to Secondary School" Transition programme HERE

Example of Block Programme Stepping Stones HERE

Example of a film based Transition Programme HERE

Full Film Transition programme HERE (zip)


Part time Format

These units can also be delivered over an extended period of time as part of 6th class and first year curriculum or alternatively as part of a homework or after schools programme.

A sample of a unit from SESS (Special Education Support Service) Here

Entire SESS Transition Workbook HERE

Mission Transition TP programme for 6th and 1st Years HERE

Moving On(UK) 6th class and 1st years HERE

The Worksheets and Resource sheets listed in the Units section are drawn primarily from these sources.