The importance of continuity in Social and Emotional Learning 

Continuity of Learning Framework

Our Continuity of Learning Framework recommends a seamless educational experience for children across different stages and settings. The framework is built around four key phases:

  1. Explore: Initial stage where sites identify needs, set goals, and plan interventions.
  2. Prepare: Sites develop detailed action plans, engage in professional development, and establish necessary supports.
  3. Deliver: Implementation of planned interventions, with ongoing support and monitoring.
  4. Sustain: Ensuring long-term sustainability of practices through continuous improvement and scaling successful strategies.

These phases are applied across four main areas: 

  • Organisational: Building collaborative relationships and integrated service delivery.
  • Curriculum: Developing and aligning educational content and learning trajectories.
  • Pedagogy: Implementing effective teaching practices that support children’s learning.
  • Assessment: Using tools and strategies to monitor progress and inform instruction.

Social and Emotional Learning

Our Place is set to release the third publication in the Continuity of Learning series this year, which will be launched with an event and workshop in September.

Towards Continuity of Learning: Social and Emotional Learning highlights the importance of providing an environment that helps children build a strong foundation for later success by supporting brain development and providing a basis for ongoing learning and development.

There is clear evidence that children benefit from high-quality experiences that build on each other steadily over time, with consistency in both early learning and school across curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2015). Consistency and continuity are of particular importance during the period that children move through the early learning and primary school systems. A stressful transition can negatively impact children’s academic and emotional capabilities (Nicholson, 2019).

An essential component of Social and Emotional learning is feeling safe and ready to learn. Continuity of relationships and familiarity with settings all contribute to creating a safe and supportive environment, which is beneficial for all children. This focus helps reduce stress and anxiety and allows children to be ready to learn. Fostering continuity in practice also provides an opportunity for seamless Social and Emotional development.

Towards Continuity of Learning: Social and Emotional Learning highlights efforts in this crucial area, including case studies from various sites demonstrating how practices are integrated to create seamless educational experiences for children.

Innovative practices with site partners

The work to implement Continuity of Learning between early learning and primary school has led to some innovative practices between site partners.

Carlton: The partnership between Gowrie Early Learning and Carlton Primary School focuses on intertwining practices to support social and emotional learning. By developing shared language and attending joint professional development sessions, staff from both settings collaborate effectively to create a seamless educational experience for children​​.

Doveton: Doveton College has embedded continuity in its philosophy, promoting social and emotional learning through the Berry Street Education Model. The college ensures that children feel safe and supported by identifying trusted adults across the site and sharing spaces between the early learning centre and the primary school. This approach helps children transition smoothly and build strong relationships​​.

Frankston North: The integration of Trauma Informed Practice across early learning and school settings supports social and emotional learning. The consistent use of the Berry Street model creates a predictable and safe environment, which is crucial for children from vulnerable backgrounds. Regular interactions between early learning and school staff promote continuity and shared understanding of each child’s needs​​.

Morwell: Morwell Park Primary School has implemented a comprehensive Continuity of Learning action plan that fosters collaboration between kindergarten and primary school educators. This plan includes regular meetings, shared professional development, and weekly visits to build familiarity and consistent pedagogical practices. These efforts aim to create a cohesive learning environment that supports children’s transitions and enhances their educational experiences​​.

Seymour: Seymour College has renewed its focus on social and emotional learning. The college uses the Berry Street model to create a welcoming and safe environment for children and families. Regular opportunities for children to participate in various activities across the site help build relationships and foster a sense of community​​.

Principal and Early Years Network: Professor Edward Melhuish from the University of Oxford was the guest speaker at the most recent network event, in which he highlighted the importance of the home learning environment on children’s educational outcomes. Professor Melhuish emphasised that early experiences, especially in language development, play a critical role in shaping a child’s future. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds often start school with poor language skills, which can affect their literacy, numeracy, and social skills. Therefore, enhancing the home learning environment is essential for closing the developmental gap and supporting long-term educational success​​.