Children and Transition

Transitions are never easy, especially for kids. One of the most difficult parts to starting school or daycare is the separation from home and family. When it comes to children entering kindergarten or graduating to the next grade it can be very nerve-racking for them. However, there are a few techniques parents and teachers can do to ease early learners into making the step from what they’re used to, to an exciting leap up. By focusing on the familiar and helping kids lessen fears of their new environment, it will make entering the new grade so much easier.

Teachers Can Use the Following Strategies for Smooth Transitioning for Children:

  • Teachers can come up with activities and themes that offer play experiences related to transitions. For example, creating a bridge from old to new by reading the class a book about new situations can help the earliest learners understand that they are not alone in the transition process. Such books will help support the activities that go on in a typical grade level classroom, which will help build anticipation for fun events in school.
  • Giving children as much information as possible is also good for a smooth transitioning process. Teachers can talk about what is going to happen ahead of time so children know what to look forward to.
  • Children get used to having the same teacher so when it’s time for them to move to another grade, often times they may become sad and overwhelmed by the change. It’s imperative for teachers to assure their students that even though they will be moving onto another grade with another teacher, they will still see them in the hallway and they can still come say hello.
  • It’s important for teachers to respect and acknowledge their students’ emotions. Thus, giving students the comfort to know that they are not the only ones who are sad about this transition. Let them know that you are happy you had them in your class and got to know them this year.
kindergarten teacher reading lass a book
mother comforting nervous young child

Parents Can Use the Following Strategies for Smooth Transitioning for Children:

  • Parents should talk about the transition to their child in a positive way.
  • If the school offers visiting days this spring/summer, visit the school as soon as you can to introduce your child into their new environment.
  • Find out who will be their teacher. Also, see if you can find out who will be their new classmates and set up an introduction or play date. Some schools offer late summer playground dates for incoming kindergarteners.
  • Acknowledge your child’s fear while offering reassurance. Remind your child that it’s okay to feel afraid and nervous in a new environment, but as the days go on they will feel better each day. Research shows that role playing is important to help preschoolers learn how to accept change and how to begin new roles.
  • Write a story with your child about his or her first day in kindergarten or whatever grade they just entered. Use your child as the main character and have them express their feelings.
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