Saturday, May 25, 2013

Transitions, transitions, transitions...

Transitions are probably one of the most difficult parts of a preschool day. Getting 15-20 kids to get on the same page and follow rules (ie. no talking in the hallways) is hard, especially when they are excited about what's next, or even when they don't want to be doing what's next.

So, here are my tips on transitioning with Preschoolers--
Number 1 and probably most important-- consistency in schedule and routines. If preschool children know what to expect they are more secure. If a child knows it's time to clean up but after rest time he will have a chance to play with the toy again, he will feel much better about putting that toy up. Keep your routines consistent too-- but don't be afraid to change up a song here and there.

2. Warn children before a transition. Give them a 5 minute warning. Do they know what 5 minutes really is? No, but they will at least know that they are going to be changing activities shortly. Children with special needs may need more than one warning.

3. Practice routines with children before they occur. This is especially important when a new routine is happening- field trip, guest speaker, picnic lunch, program, etc. I like to practice every day things as well with them every once in awhile like hand washing, or walking in the hall in our classroom. This way I can pretend like I don't know what I'm doing and they can correct me.

4. Don't freak out if a transition doesn't go quite right. It takes an adult doing something 8 times before it becomes a habit-- I imagine for a preschooler it takes a lot more! Remember they didn't come programmed on how to manage transitions in a preschool classroom-- they need to learn them just like how they learn to count to 10 or spell their name.

I've been gathering new ideas for transitions because I'm getting tired of the tricks I've been using, and I'm not a fan of shaming or pointing out who is not following an expectation. Here are some of the things I've found...

Dr. Jean has a wonderful YouTube video with some really good ideas- be sure to have a pen and paper handy while your watching it to jot down the ideas!

Here is a great blog post with ideas on transitions from Learning and Teaching with Preschoolers.

Jenny at Ignite Learning with Conscious Discipline uses the S.T.A.R. technique before clean up times or stressful transitions, you can read about it here.

What are some of your favorite ways to transition? Has there been anything you've tried that has failed miserably? I had a wonderful co-teacher who liked to do the "clean up train", she would announce she was the clean up train, and all the children would come over and form a train. She'd walk around the room making train noises and stop at each center and let the children off to clean up that center. It worked marvelously with the group we had that year. I tried it with my kids a few years later, huge flop. None of them wanted to get off the train! :)

Until Next Time- Play, Create, & Get Messy!

No comments:

Post a Comment