Parents: More Support Needed for Kindergarten-Primary Transition
According to the latest survey conducted by The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), more than 90% of K3 parents have various levels of stress when preparing their children for primary one transition under the pandemic, and over half of the respondents reported that their children feel anxious because of the school transition. Academics say more parent education and home-school collaboration is necessary to cater for the needs of parents during the kindergarten-primary transition.
The survey, which was conducted by the Department of Early Childhood Education (ECE) from 13 May to 15 June 2021, collected responses from 825 K3 parents through 58 kindergartens and a social media platform under EdUHK. Its aim was to investigate the level of parental stress in raising children, children’s school readiness and anxiety, and parents’ needs during the pandemic.
The survey found that more than 90% of K3 parents felt extra stress raising children during the pandemic. The major sources of stress were their children’s learning progress (nearly 85%) and behavioural problems (53%).
Table 1: Source of parental stress during the pandemic (multiple answers allowed)
|Source of stress|
Children’s learning progress
Children’s behaviour problems
Anxiety about the pandemic situation
Lack of support
Special attention should also be drawn to the fact that more than half the parents reported that their children felt anxious about the primary one transition, and over 35% of the students experienced anxiety symptoms, such as being overly worried, and feeling irritated and nervous. Only 2.5% of parents believed that their children were fully prepared for primary school.
Table 2: Frequency of anxiety symptoms presented by children
Most of the time
Irritated and nervous
Worse sleep quality
Physical pain for no reason
Difficulty falling asleep
When asked about support for their children's primary one transition, over 90% of the respondents indicated that they would like more support, such as school visits or class observations, more information about the school curriculum, and family activities for transition preparation.
Table 3: Effective forms of support for children’s primary one transition (multiple answers allowed)
Form of support
School visit / Class observation
Parents’ meeting / More information about the school curriculum
Family activities for transition preparation
Seminar for parents
Parent support group
Dr Eva Lau Yi-hung, Associate Head and Associate Professor of ECE, who was in charge of the survey, said, “The transition from kindergarten to primary school has long been a critical stage for all students. In addition to adapting to a new environment, students have to face challenges from changes in the mode of learning and socialising. The prolonged class suspensions during the pandemic inevitably put additional pressure on the students and their families.”
She added that the survey findings reflected the need for more support for parents to help their children adapt to primary school. She advised schools to provide more parent education and home-school collaboration, to provide parents with tools to help their children adapt to primary school life in learning ability, social and emotional development, and so forth.
Dr Li Jianbin, Assistant Professor of ECE, suggested that parents focus on their children’s needs and emotions, and maintain stable and positive family relationships through parent-child communication and games to help their children adapt to the transition to primary one.
Dr Chan Po-lin, Associate Head and Senior Lecturer of ECE, pointed out that primary school transition involves a long period of adjustment. She added that in addition to arranging school transition activities at the beginning of the school year, teachers should be equipped with relevant teaching skills and home-school collaboration strategies.
Appendix: Survey Findings