TRANSITIONS IN THE EARLY YEARS
To lessen anxieties around transitions
- Creating a book with pictures of the school staff and activity areas to share with the child and parents.
- Helping the child to understand routine by building in objects of reference that travel from one activity to another - e.g. you might give the child a plastic spoon to hold on the way to lunch, a chime bar when it's time for music. It’s useful to give the child somewhere to place the object on arrival.
- Providing visual cues to help child navigate their way around the classroom and understand specific areas and routines. For example, use a specific coloured plastic table cloth for snack time and another for painting.
- Providing clear signals to mark different points in their routine - beginning or end of an activity/task might involve a song which begins the activity each time and a countdown to finish. Visual supports also help a child to recognise and follow routines. For example you may use a sand timer or buzzer to help mark the end of an activity; sign ‘finish’ or show a symbol.
- Limiting choices - too many and the child may be unable to make any choice.
- Considering possible sensory processing difficulties when transitioning.
- Some may find it hard to cope with loud noise. Try entering an area before the noise builds up. Gradually increase time, with a calm and quiet activity afterwards.
- Some may have difficulty coping with smell of e.g. cooking, or in activities involving messy hands. Again, gradually introducing and increasing time on these activities can help build confidence.