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Moving on

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By Sue Cowleyeducational author, presenter and trainer

Change can sometimes unsettle children. Sue Cowley talks about how you can help to make certain transitions in their lives as easy as possible

Movingon

Life is full of transitions – moving house, changing jobs, getting another year older. While routine and security are important, learning to cope with change is vital. For children moving into education, or from one stage of schooling to the next, there will inevitably be challenges. For most children, these are relatively easy to handle; indeed, transition is an exciting time. But for some children, particularly those from a disadvantaged background, or with special needs, transitions offer a special kind of challenge. As practitioners, it is our role to help all children feel happy and thrive during times of transition in their lives.

Home to nursery

Starting in a childcare setting can be a difficult time for young children, as well as for their parents. It is the first step in gaining independence and moving away from the home environment.

The children’s concerns might include

  • Being separated from their parents.
  • Being away from familiar surroundings.
  • Practical concerns such as finding their way, going to the toilet and having lunch.

How you can help children to settle

  • Talk regularly about the routines and rules in your setting. Keep your explanations short and simple, so that they are easily understood.
  • Ask the children for feedback about their concerns. Encourage them to ask for help when it is needed.
  • Add visual aids such as pictures and photos to help the children understand what goes where.
  • Have ‘comforters’ available if the children need soothing. Depending on the policy in your setting, you might allow the children to bring in soft toys.
  • Make plenty of formal and informal contacts between the home and the setting, for example, reports, newsletters, parent meetings and so on
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