Transitions in the classroom are hard.
Let's get real. It's true.
They just are. Some of us handle them better than others. Me? It's not exactly my greatest strength.
Yes, I am talking about adult transitions. Moving. Ending a relationship. Getting yourself out of the house in the morning. Even happy transitions like the birth of a new baby (ok that one is sort of in a league of its own) or getting the car packed for a day at the beach can be STRESSFUL.
I will never forget a training I went to when I was a new preschool teacher where the trainer said this to us, adding that she and her husband would always fight packing for a trip. I went to that training in 1995 so obviously, it made a big impression on me.
So, if your classroom transitions feel chaotic and you have a child who refuses to clean up...or worse yet almost none of the children are listening and cleaning...the good news? This is normal too.
Transitions are hard and perhaps especially for young children.
Which is why we need to prepare them, support them, and teach them how to navigate life's transitions, big and small.
Back at the workshop I attended in the ‘90s I learned about a book called Transition Magician. It had some great ways to transition children from the rug to line up, through clean up time, or back inside into the classroom in ways that were fun! Using a small stuffed animal to cue a transition with an animal sound and directions whispered in my ear. Embedding the directions in a familiar song, including a prompt to sing with you, “sing, sing, sing with me, sing out, out and clear” (sung to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell). And so much more.
I also started to experiment creatively to support individual children such as making certain children helpers during a transition to give them a focus (holding the bubbles while going outside works wonders for an inordinate number of children) or even enlisting the child who would refuse to lay on his cot to help me write and decorate our class nap time agreements.
But today I want to ask you for some input.
See, I'm putting together my Transform Challenging Behavior Online Bootcamp Course(registration opens soon) and one of the modules is, Transform Your Transitions. I want to know what you are doing that's working great. I might mention what you're doing as an example (I will only use your name if you give me permission) or, you might help me to include something I might have otherwise missed!
So do you have a minute to help me out?
Here's what I want to know:
What is one way you have helped a very challenging child to successfully move from one activity to the next?
That's right, I don't want your generic clean up song or something you do to help most kids. I want to hear some short stories about supports you've created to effectively support the child that challenged you most. A story of success, if you will.
Got one? Comment below!
If not check out my 7 1/2 Step Clean-Up Time Blueprint and maybe you can use some of those ideas to have a story of success next time!
Keep up the good work.