Transitions with Young Children

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Transitioning a group of kids from one activity to another can be stressful for the students… and hence the teacher as well.  Some kids really need advance notification that the thing they are doing will change.  They may become anxious, fearful, or angry when they have to stop doing one thing and go with the flow to the next activity. 

We sometimes tell our students that they’ll clean up
… in three minutes,
then in two,
then in one
and then we go for it!

Other children do well with pictures of the parts of their day displayed on a large board. As the class moves from event to event we remove the pictures thereof.  This is a significant help to children who feel anxious, need a lot of structure, and/or are on the spectrum.

Singing is a great way to initiate a transition.  Singing gets a child’s attention, and the familiar words help them focus and become the first part of the transition. Either way, just a spoonful of singing makes the transitions go down much better.  Here are two of my favorites: 

Clean Up Time
(Tune: Miss Lucy had a baby, she named him tiny Tim….)  

It’s clean up time everybody.
It’s clean up time right now. 
If I help you and you help me,

Then we’ll get ready for _______.

Circle Time is Almost Done!
(Tune: Buffalo girls, won’t you come out tonight…)

Circle time is almost done,
Almost done, almost done.

Circle time is almost done,
Then we’re going to ______.

Of course, you can make up your own songs, but that’s another blog!

Margie La Bella is a music therapist with over 24 years experience working with pre-school and school aged children.   Her Move! and Mixing It UP albums are full of inviting and appealing songs developed to facilitate learning through active movement to music. 

Listen to Everybody Wave Hello from Move in the audio player, below.