Starting school is a common experience for millions of children around the world, but it is not the same experience for children everywhere. Children have different experiences which are related to their own characteristics, their families and communities and the schools they attend. This paper uses a series of longitudinal case studies of young children in Peru 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 children come from a variety of communities in different areas of Peru, from urban and rural communities, with different poverty levels and different proportions of indigenous people. The impact of recent political violence on these communities was also considered. These detailed case studies aim to highlight the common problems, perspectives and experiences that affect many young children in contemporary Peru.
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 experiences is by enhancing the theoretical and practical training of teachers who work with young children. Better communication in school-home relations and more information for parents and teachers on the challenges young children face will foster more successful transitions . Respect for diversity is still a challenge and more work is needed at school level to meet the needs of indigenous children and their families. Finally, issues of violence must be confronted, both inside and outside school, to ensure children's rights are protected. 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 a these more successful during transition from pre-school to primary school.