Transitions can be chaotic for children and adults. Being prepared to help children move from one activity to the next in a calm and engaging way is not only beneficial for children but makes life more pleasant for the teacher/caregiver! Here are some great tips to help make those transitions go more smoothly.
1) Plan your transitions! Jot them down in your planning form as a helpful reminder. Being prepared can take a lot of the stress out of your transitions, and it helps you be focused and more attentive to the children.
2) Tie your transitions into your units to extend learning. Example: in an animal unit, jump like bunnies or gallop like horses.
3) Make your ideas easily and readily available. Write ideas on index cards, laminate and punch a hole in a corner, attach to a ring so they are easy to flip through. Hang the ring someplace handy. This makes them easily accessible for all staff and substitutes.
4) Hands too busy when walking in line? Have children grab onto their pants or knot a rope at intervals for children to hold on to, this helps them maintain a good distance from each other!
5) Voices too loud when moving from one area to another? Have children put an imaginary ‘bubble’ or ‘marshmallow’ in their mouths.
6) Be specific and clear with instructions of what you want a child to do. Instead of saying ‘get in line’, say ‘Joey line up behind Sally’.
7) Generate positive behaviors by describing actions in the positive. Instead of saying ‘Don’t run’, say ‘We are walking to the door’ or even ‘Use walking feet’.
8) Prepare children for the next transition by giving them a heads-up. Some children need a couple of steps to the transition, ‘In five minutes, it will be clean-up time’, then with about a minute to go, remind them that they will be needing to finish their work in order to go outside (or whatever the activity might be).
9) Have children move according to instructions meant for specific children. For example: ‘Line up if you are wearing pink shoes and a blue shirt’. This encourages children to really listen to the instructions, and to be aware of details about themselves.
10) Use their positive behaviors to encourage the rest of the children to respond correctly. ‘I like how Jacob is sitting with his legs crossed, I see that Amy is also sitting with her legs crossed, and here comes Abdul to the circle to join his friends’.