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. Teachers reported a lack of coordination and communication between pre-schools and primary schools. Parents saw pre-school as a necessary step in preparing their children for school, but expected this to be a radical change.
Another important finding is that young children often encountered physical punishment as part of their first contact with school - which far from helping children, worked against motivation and impacted negatively on their adaptation to primary school.
The study also found that Peru’s education system barely acknowledged and did not integrate the country’s rich cultural diversity. Children’s ethnic and cultural identities remained marginalised and were not considered during the process of school transitions. Finally, the paper highlighted the fact that young children commonly experienced a social as well as an educational transition.
Young children who were starting school often experienced changes in their roles and responsibilities within the home. They went from being ‘little children’ to more ‘grown up’ children. They gained more responsibility for domestic and productive activities, and in doing so, they developed skills that prepared them to be productive members of their households, especially in rural areas. But the skills and knowledge that children gained at home and in their communities were not recognised by the school system. It produced a particular image of what children can or cannot do at school, rather than a more positive holistic image, based on respect for who they are and what they know, in the broader context of their families and communities.