Children's Perspective on Transition From Kindergarten to Primary School: Croatian Experience

Children's Perspective on Transition From Kindergarten to Primary School: Croatian Experience

Adrijana Višnjić Jevtić, Ivana Visković
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4435-8.ch003
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


Access to educational transitions is determined by public educational policies, community culture in which someone grew up, and personal paradigms of all participants in the process – parents, teachers, and children. Although most educational policies demand accepting children as active participants in their own education, the actual children's participation is challenging. It is still linked to the adults' interpretation of understanding children's participation. How well we understand their perspective is often a predictor of initiating higher or lower quality transition processes. To appreciate a child's perspective, we should move away from the “top-down” view and consider the children's “bottom-up” interpretation of their own thinking and well-being. It is therefore justified to research children's opinions. This chapter discusses children's understanding of the transition process, based on 40 interviews with children in ECE settings.
Chapter Preview


The right to education is one of the fundamental children’s rights.. Public educational policies determine the ways in which children are included in the formal education system. The well-being of children is acknowledged in the quality of the educational process, the cooperation of all involved in the process, and the process of the transition itself. Positive impact of transitions on children’s early (and later) learning were emphasised in OECD research Starting strong II & V (2006, 2017). Starting Strong II, V (OECD, 2006, 2017) compare educational policies by their approaches to transition, ranging from a focus on cognitive achievement to a tradition of social pedagogy aimed at supporting children's individual development.

If we consider the right to education as one of the most important children’s rights (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereafter UNCRC), 1989), then all children should have access to early childhood education (hereafter ECE) (United Nations, 2015). In providing that access, we demonstrate respect for children as citizens to exercise their rights to have a say on matters that affect them (United Nation 1989).

ECE in Croatia constitutes the initial level of education system and includes education and care for children for children from six months up to primary school age (usually 6.5 years) (Ministry of Science and Education, 2013). Except for pre-primary education programs (a year before children start primary school), it is not compulsory for preschool children. ECE is provided by kindergartens and/or other legal entities that have established programs of early childhood education. Either public or private, they have the same regulations towards education of early and preschool children. Data from 2016 (Dobrotić et al., 2018) showed that 21.2% of children age 0 – 2 years and 58% of children age 3 – 6 years were included in ECE.

Due to Recommendations of the Council of the European Union on high-quality ECE system (2019) to meet Barcelona’s objectives targeting enrolment of 90% children from 3 to primary school age in ECE (EC, 2018), the Croatian government maintained compulsory education of 250 hours during a preschool year. A preschool year is a year before children start primary school and it’s organized either in existing kindergartens or in separate classes, usually in the facilities of the primary schools. Following the recommended measures should lead to almost 100% coverage of children in ECE in that preschool year. In primary school children are enrolled after a normative assessment of their psychophysical status. Following the opinion of the team of professionals (psychologist and pediatrician), one year's delay in going to school is also possible. Ultimately, in accordance with inclusive policies, all children are enrolled in a compulsory eight years of primary education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

ECE Settings: Early childhood education institutions. In Croatian case early childhood education settings are educational institutions for children from 6 months to 7 years old.

Pre-Schoolers: Children in the year before they are starting compulsory (primary) education. The oldest children in the ECE settings. In Croatia they are usually in the age between 5,5 and 6,5.

School Readiness: The concept of children entrance to school ready to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences that best promote the child’s success. Opposite it may be seen as a prerequisite for a child to enter the compulsory education or a demand to a child to adjust to school tasks.

Schoolification: (Bad) practice of some ECE settings to adapt their curriculum in order to meet the school standards (more teacher-directed pedagogies, greater attention to academic content and less playtime). Transforming ECE settings into schools.

Educational Transitions: Transitions in education when children move from one educational institution to another, that is, ECE settings to primary school, or primary school to secondary school.

Participatory Research: A range of methodological approaches and techniques with those people whose lifeworld and meaningful actions are under study. One of the characteristics is handing power from the researcher to research participants.

Children Perspective: The children perspective refers to the child's own experiences, perceptions and understandings of a certain situation. Differ from child perspective which may be seen as, adult perspective (and understanding) of the child and his/her needs in the same situation.

Transition: A change from one state or condition to another. An act or the process of passing from one state, stage, place, or subject to another.

Teacher: Highly educated person that support children’s learning. The term teacher is related to both ECE and schoolteachers.

Child-Centeredness: The approach in education and parenting in which children's needs and interests are respected and appreciated. Child is seen as co-constructor of his/her own learning.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: