3.1 From home to school

We probably all vividly remember our first day at primary school. The case study below introduces you to Lowri and her memories of her first day at school.

Case study: Lowri’s first day at primary school

Described image
Figure 6 Lowri in her new school uniform

Lowri is 11. She looks back on her experiences of her first important transition from home to school. This was firstly a horizontal transition, as it involved a physical move literally from one place to another. But it was also a vertical transition, as it involved a change of experience, a moving ‘up’ into primary school.

In Figure 7, Lowri remembers her first day at school and the feelings she had about being left in a strange setting. Her teacher played an important role in making the transition easier for Lowri. The detail with which she remembers the day shows how memorable the experience was to a young child of 4.

Described image
7 Lowri’s story

For young children, the vertical transition from home to school will most likely also involve a change in carer, such as from mother to teacher. For older children, the move from primary to secondary school will also involve changes in routine, such as having to move around the school to different classrooms for all the different subjects being studied. For many children, moving to secondary school can mean a further change in friendship groups, as children are often allocated to different schools depending on catchment areas or by parental choice.

Activity 6 asks you to identify and reflect on transitions in your early life.

Activity 6

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes
By signing in and enrolling on this course you can view and complete all activities within the course, track your progress in My OpenLearn Create. and when you have completed a course, you can download and print a free Statement of Participation - which you can use to demonstrate your learning.


It is most likely that you will have identified the transition of starting school or leaving school. You may have identified when you moved house or moved to a different country as a horizontal transition. Starting Cubs or Brownies, or leaving them, may have left you with strong memories of vertical transition.

3 Children’s transitions

3.2 From primary to secondary school