Supporting English as an Additional Language (EAL) at transition to school

'High expectations for all children and families, coupled with recognition of the strengths and funds of knowledge they bring, are cornerstones of effective transition to school approaches, regardless of the backgrounds of those involved.' (Dockett & Perry, 2014)

This resource provides advice and practical examples of how children and families, with English as an Additional Language (EAL), can be supported to make a successful transition to school. It is designed to assist and guide early childhood professionals and teachers in schools.

The importance of supporting children during transition

Children have different preschool experiences. They may have attended services that provide transition to programs in the year prior to school entry: kindergarten, long day care, outside school hours care. Some children may have had no preschool experience. It is important that services and schools have a clear understanding of a child’s learning and development and that they share this information during the transition process. This includes understanding and sharing information about a child’s language skills in both English and their home language.

Case studies that inform practice

This resource includes five case studies that illustrate the practices that services and schools employ to ensure a smooth transition for children and their families. The video vignettes illustrate how the services and schools approach:

  • building relationships with children and their families
  • supporting home language
  • supporting English language development
  • supporting transition to school.


This resource was developed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) in partnership with the Department of Education and Training (DET) EAL and Multicultural Unit and Dr Priscilla Clarke, OAM, Early Childhood Consultant. VCAA would like to thank the professionals in following schools and services for their significant contribution to the development of five case studies:

  • St Albans Primary School
  • Dandenong West Primary School
  • Kingsville Kindergarten
  • Springvale Service for Children
  • Wilmot Road Primary School, Shepparton