14 April 2024

Familiarise yourself with the student’s previous class or learning setting

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Getting to know the student and what they can do’

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Liaise with previous teachers

Liaise with previous teachers

Share knowledge and understanding with other teachers.

Teachers from each sector need to develop relationships that involve sharing knowledge and understanding of each other's environment, pedagogy and curriculum.

Teachers can be influential mediators of children's experiences when they have an understanding of where transitioning children are moving to, where they come from, and what they bring to their new learning context.

Jocelyn Wright, University of Canterbury (2009)

Questions for the support team

Questions for the support team

If a student has an IEP, or has had support from an early intervention teacher or a RTLB, liaise with their current school to participate in planning meetings for up to six months prior to a transition.

  • What are the student’s learning goals?
  • What supports are in place to facilitate and enable learning?
  • Are any specialists (for example, an RTLB) involved in supporting learning and how are they working with the student?
  • How are parents and whānau contacted and involved?
  • What approaches and processes can be put in place to effect a smooth transition process?
  • What are the student’s important peer and other relationships?

Observe the learning setting

Observe the learning setting

When you or your learning support coordinator visit a student’s previous learning setting, as well as observing and making notes, consider (with permission) taking photos or video to view later.


  • visual or other supports used to facilitate learning
  • student interaction with their peers, (for example, working with a buddy, participating in groups, taking leadership roles?)
  • how they work independently
  • systems in place for them to take breaks or ask for help
  • technologies they use
  • their communication with teachers and peers
  • how conflict is managed
  • curriculum areas where they have strengths or find challenging
  • strategies that could be carried over to the new setting
  • student interaction in the playground
  • their book work and their work on display.

Use blogs

Use blogs

Seeing students in their familiar environment helps teachers to find out:

  • how they learn and interact 
  • what their interests are
  • how to to engage them in a new learning environment. 

Look at blogposts or other real time reporting tools.

6140 [Kindergarten blogpost.png]

Source: Ministry of Education

Ministry of Education

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Get to know the student”:

Return to the guide “Transitions – managing times of change”