Borderlands, Bridges and Rites of Passage

  • Sally PetersEmail author
  • Gunilla Sandberg
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 16)


This chapter examines transitions by looking closely at the border or threshold to be crossed between different educational contexts. We explore research findings related to borderlands and bridges between the early childhood and school sectors, the ways in which these might be conceptualised in policy and the implications for practice for the professionals involved. The chapter also considers the child’s pathway or learning journey traversing these borders, borderlands or bridges and discusses the place of rites of passage in this process.


Early Childhood Education Shared Understanding School Form Conceptual Space Boundary Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ackesjö, H. (2013). Children crossing borders: School visits as initial incorporation rites in transition to preschool class. International Journal of Early Childhood, 4(3), 387–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ackesjö, H. (2014). Children’s transitions to school in a changing educational landscape: Borders, identities and (dis)continuities. International Journal of Transitions in Childhood, 7, 3–5.Google Scholar
  3. Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Anzaldúa, G. (2012). (Un)natural bridges, (un)safe spaces. In G. Anzaldúa & A. L. Keating (Eds.), This bridge we call home: Radical visions for transformation (pp. 1–5). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Athola, A., Silinskas, G., Poikonen, P.-L., Kontoniemi, M., Niemi, P., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2011). Transition to formal schooling: Do transition practices matter for academic performance? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 295–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Britt, C., & Sumsion, J. (2003). Within the borderlands: Beginning early childhood teachers in primary schools. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 4(2), 115–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooker, L. (2008). Supporting transitions in the early years. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bulkeley, J., & Fabian, H. (2006). Well-being and belonging during early educational transitions. International Journal of Transitions in Childhood, 2, 18–30.Google Scholar
  9. Carr, M., Cowie, B., & Davies, K. (2015). Continuity of early learning: Learning progress and outcomes in the early years. Report on the literature scan, Report commissioned by Ministry of Education. Wellington: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  10. Clandinin, D. J., & Rosiek, J. (2007). Mapping a landscape of narrative inquiry: Borderland spaces and tensions. In D. J. Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of narrative inquiry (pp. 35–75). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cooper, C. E., Crosnoe, R., Suizzo, M.-A., & Pituch, K. A. (2010). Poverty, race, and parental involvement during the transition to elementary school. Journal of Family Issues, 31(7), 859–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crafter, S., & Maunder, R. (2012). Understanding transitions using a sociocultural framework. Educational & Child Psychology, 29(1), 10–18.Google Scholar
  13. De Roover, M. (2012). Internalizing borderlands: The performance of borderlands identity. Unpublished Masters thesis, The University of Guelph, Canada.Google Scholar
  14. Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2014). Continuity of learning: A resource to support effective transition to school and school age care. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Education.Google Scholar
  15. Dockett, S., Perry, B., Kearney, E., Hampshire, A., Mason, J., & Schmied, V. (2011). Facilitating children’s transition to school from families with complex support needs. Albury: Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education, Charles Sturt University.Google Scholar
  16. Ecclestone, K., Biesta, G., & Hughes, M. (2010). Transitions and learning through the life course. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Education Review Office. (2015). Continuity of learning: Transitions from early childhood services to schools. Education Evaluation Reports. Accessed 27 Oct 2015.
  18. Educational Transitions and Change (ETC) Research Group. (2011). Transition to school: Position statement. Albury: RIPPLE, Charles Sturt University. Accessed 15 Feb 2015.
  19. Edwards, A. (2011). Building common knowledge at the boundaries between professional practices: Relational agency and relational expertise in system of distributed expertise. International Journal of Educational Research, 50(1), 33–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Einarsdóttir, J. (2007). Children’s voices on the transition from preschool to primary school. In A.-W. Dunlop & H. Fabian (Eds.), Informing transitions in the early years: Research, policy and practice (pp. 74–91). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  21. Fabian, H. (2002). Children starting school. London: David Fulton.Google Scholar
  22. Fast, C. (2007). Sju barn lär sig läsa och skriva: Familjeliv och populärkultur i möte med förskola och skola [Seven children learning to read and write: Family life and popular culture meet preschool and school]. (Uppsala Studies in Education, 115). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.Google Scholar
  23. Fischbein, S., Rydelius, P-A., & Björck-Åkesson, E. (2006). Tvärvetenskaplig samverkan—kring lärande, delaktighet och hälsa i samspel med den pedagogiska miljön [Interdisciplinary collaboration on learning, participation and health in harmony with the educational environment]. I Resultatdialog 2006. Forskning inom utbildningsvetenskap (Vetenskapsrådets rap-portserie 15). Stockholm: Vetenskapsrådet.Google Scholar
  24. Garpelin, A. (2014). Transition to school: A rite of passage in life. In B. Perry, S. Dockett, & A. Petriwskyj (Eds.), Transitions to school: International research, policy and practice (pp. 117–128). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hagtvet, B., Frost, J., & Refsahl, V. (2015). Den intensive leseopplæringen: Dialog og mestring når lesingen har låst seg [The intensive reading instruction: Dialogue and mastering when reading has locked up]. Cappelen Damm Akademisk 2015.Google Scholar
  26. Halonen, A., Aunola, K., Ahonen, T., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2006). The role of learning to read in the development of problem behaviour: A cross-lagged longitudinal study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(3), 517–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hartley, C., Rogers, P., Smith, J., Peters, S., & Carr, M. (2012). Crossing the border: A community negotiates the transition from early childhood to primary school. Wellington: NZCER.Google Scholar
  28. Hohepa, M. (2014). Riariakina ō rongo hirikapo. Teaching and Learning Research initiative project. Accessed 27 Mar 2015.
  29. Hörschelmann, K. (2011). Theorising life transitions: Geographical perspectives. Area, 43(4), 378–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kaga, Y. (2007). Preschool class for 6-year-olds in Sweden: A bridge between early childhood and compulsory school, UNESCO Policy Brief on Early Childhood, No. 38. Accessed 27 Mar 2015.
  31. Kagan, S. L., & Neville, P. R. (1996). Combining endogenous and exogenous factors in the shift years: The transition to school. In A. J. Sameroff & M. M. Haith (Eds.), The five to seven year shift: The age of reason and responsibility (pp. 385–405). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  32. Karila, K., & Rantavuori, L. (2014). Discourses at the boundary spaces: Developing a fluent transition from preschool to school. Early Years, 34(4), 377–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Miller, K. (2015). The transition to kindergarten: How families from lower-income backgrounds experience the first year. Early Childhood Education Journal, 43(3), 213–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitchell, L., Cowie, B., Clarkin-Phillips, J., Davis, K., Glasgow, A., & Hatherly, A. et al. (2015). Continuity of early learning: Learning progress and outcomes in the early years. Overview report on data findings. Report commissioned by Ministry of Education. Wellington: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  35. Mulholland, J., & Wallace, J. (2003). Strength, sharing and service: Restorying and the legitimation of research texts. British Educational Research Journal, 29(1), 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Newman, D., & Paasi, A. (1998). Fences and neighbours in the postmodern world: Boundary narratives in political geography. Progress in Human Geography, 22, 186–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Noel, A. (2011). Easing the transition to school: Administrators’ descriptions of transition to school activities. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(4), 44–52.Google Scholar
  38. O’Toole, L., Hayes, N., & Mhic Mhathúna, M. (2014). A bio-ecological perspective on educational transition. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 140, 121–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Peters, S. (2004). Crossing the border: An interpretive study of children making the transition to school. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  40. Peters, S. (2010a). Literature review: Transition from early childhood education to school. Report commissioned by the Ministry of Education. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
  41. Peters, S. (2010b). Shifting the lens: Re-framing the view of learners and learning during the transition from early childhood education to school in New Zealand. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational transitions: Moving stories from around the world (pp. 68–84). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Peters, S. (2014). Chasms, bridges and borderlands: A transitions research ‘across the border’ from early childhood education to school in New Zealand. In B. Perry, S. Dockett, & A. Petriwskyj (Eds.), Transitions to school: International research, policy and practice (pp. 105–116). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Peters, S., Paki, V. & Davis, K. (2015). Learning journeys from early childhood into school. Teaching and Learning Research initiative final report. Accessed 27 Aug 2015.
  44. Sandberg, G. (2012). På väg in i skolan: Om villkor för olika barns delaktighet och skriftspråkslärande [On their way into school: About conditions for participation and learning]. (Studia Didactica Upsaliensia 6). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.Google Scholar
  45. Sandberg, G., Hellblom-Thibblin, T., & Garpelin, A. (2014). Transition to school: A Swedish perspective. Early Childhood Folio, 18(2), 15–21.Google Scholar
  46. Sandberg, G., Hellblom-Thibblin, T., & Garpelin, A. (2015). Teacher’s perspective on how to promote children’s learning in reading and writing. European Journal of Special Needs Education. doi: 10.1080/08856257.2015.1046738.Google Scholar
  47. Schielack, J., & Seeley, C. L. (2010). Transitions from elementary to middle school math. Teaching Children Mathematics, 16(6), 358–362.Google Scholar
  48. Siraj, I., & Mayo, A. (2014). Social class and educational inequality: The impact of parents and schools. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Skoog, M. (2012). Skriftspråkande i förskoleklass och årskurs 1 [Literacy in preschool-class and grade one]. (Örebro Studies in Education 33). Örebro: Örebro universitet.Google Scholar
  50. Snow, C. E., & Juel, C. (2007). Teaching children to read: What do we know about how to do it? In M. J. Snowling & C. Hulme (Eds.), The science of reading: A handbook (pp. 521–537). Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  51. Stanovich, K. E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21, 360–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Stanovich, K. E. (2000). Progress in understanding reading: Scientific foundations and new frontiers. New York/London: Guilford.Google Scholar
  53. Taguma, M., Litjens, I., & Makowiecki, K. (2013). Quality matters in early childhood education and care Sweden. OECD. Accessed 27 Mar 2015.
  54. Turner, V. (1977). Variations on a theme of liminality. In S. F. Moore & B. G. Myerhoff (Eds.), Secular ritual (pp. 36–52). Amsterdam: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
  55. van Gennep, A. (1977). The rites of passage. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Vygotsky, L. (1934/1986). Thought and language. (A. Kozulin, Trans. and Ed.) Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press..Google Scholar
  57. Watts, T. E. (2013). Big ideas: ‘Les rites de passage’ Arnold van Gennep 1909. Nurse Education Today, 33, 312–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Mälardalen UniversityVästeråsSweden

Personalised recommendations