Continuity and respect for diversity: Strengthening early transitions in Peru

This paper explores such diversity through a series of longitudinal case studies of young children in Peru, gathered as part of the Young Lives project. Twenty-eight children from four contrasting communities were interviewed in 2007 and again in 2008, in order to determine their views and experiences during the process of transition from home or pre-school into the first grade of primary school.

The study described how the availability and access to services for young children (especially pre-school education) has greatly improved in recent years in Peru. The case studies showed that there were several challenges faced by children in their transition from pre-school to primary school. Children reported discontinuities and contrasts between pre-school and first grade. The study also found that Peru’s education system barely acknowledged and did not integrat the county’s rich cultural diversity. Finally, the paper highlighted the fact that young children commonly experienced a social as well as an educational transition.

The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings on education policy and children’s well-being, and proposes four ways in which children’s early educational transitions can be enhanced. The first approach is to strengthen the continuity and collaboration between pre-school and primary school. Giving priority to educational structures and policies, curriculum planning and pedagogy that help to foster better transitions from pre-school to
school is a second approach. The third way of improving children’s early educational transi-tional experiences is by enhancing the theoretical and practical training of teachers who work with young children. In general, pre-schools and primary schools should be more aware of children’s rights and identities, and more proactive in helping their families to find ways to improve their support to children during transition from pre-school to primary school.

This working paper is part of a series on early transitions from Young Lives, a 15-year longitudinal study of child-hood poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam.

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