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If you are teaching preschool classes or a stay at home parent with a preschool age child, you know how hard it is to stop one activity to do something else.
Transition ideas often don't come to mind immediately when you need to go from one thing to the next. The goal when teaching preschool is to make these changes as easy and stresss free as possible.
Everyone needs a signal that the time has come to switch what we are doing to go to something else. Older children and adults use time and clocks to give them a warning that a change will occur. Class schedules, bells in the schools, factory horns, traffic signals are different ways that we learn to transition as we are older.
Our toddlers and preschoolers need their transition signals that a change is going to happen. All of these can be “signals” for them that things are going to be changing and they can help. These signals give them some sense of control over their world which they are so eagerly trying to grasp.
The following ideas are all tried and true suggestions for Transition cues for your children.
Have a special song which you use when it is time to put things away and start a new project or activity. Start playing this song and the children recognize the song and know they need to complete what they are doing and put things away before the song ends. Competition adds an element of fun and eases the stress.
Tell them that you are going to play Beat the Timer. Set the timer for a certain number of minutes (5 is good for toddlers) and tell them they have need to put things back where they belong before the timer rings. Fun and quick transition.
Explain to them in a brief way that it will be time to end the current activity soon to get ready for something else. Then you can use any of the other transition ideas after this statement to help ease the change.
Credit goes to a preschool teacher many years ago who shared this idea with me. When it is time to end one activity and settle down for circle time or rest time, spray the room with Magic “are you listening” Mist. Use a clean spray bottle, fill with water and add a tiny drop of cinnamon flavoring in it. Spray up toward the ceiling so that the mist falls gently on the children. Tell them when the magic mist falls they need to be listening and getting ready for another activity.
These ideas for helping transition from activity to another are all geared to help you as you are teaching preschool. They can take a stressful situation and turn it into a something fun and eagerly anticipated.
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