As a gesture of appreciation for the amazing early childhood professionals in WNY, we are thrilled to present our “Bag of Tricks” project! Designed and facilitated by the members of the WNY Behavior Collaboration, this initiative supports professionals who are:
Interested in promoting positive behaviors
Enthusiastic about ready-to-use strategies and materials
When I ask training participants to detail their typical classroom routine, most teachers have a list of 15+ transitions before lunch. In fact, many teachers realize that their schedule includes about 10 transitions every two hours. Multiply that by the 8-10 hours that many children spend in our care and whoa.
That’s A LOT of time spent in transitions… which can often mean A LOT of time spent waiting.
Most adults struggle with waiting — just thinking about the long lines at the DMV or sitting in a doctor’s waiting room makes me twitch! — so why do we expect children to wait patiently and compliantly, every single day?
The bad news? Transitions can be troubling — noisy, hectic, and a breeding ground for challenging behaviors.
The good news? With purposeful planning, teachers can reduce wait times and transform transitions into engaging learning opportunities.
3 Strategies for Smoother Transitions:
Be consistent. Establish a habit of consistently using a transition warning AND a transition signal (in addition to a verbal direction).
A transition warning (such as “5 more minutes” with a visual countdown) lets children know that an activity will end soon.
A transition signal accompanies a verbal direction and may be auditory (ringing a bell, singing a song), visual (turning off lights), or gestural (pointing to a picture on a posted schedule).
Be proactive. Eliminate “sit and wait” portions of the day — have lunch ready before calling children to the table, have centers already set up for when you return from the gym/outdoors, and consider all “line times” as opportunities to sing and move!
Be generous with positive attention. Know who needs extra attention & give it freely. Engage children as helpers, recognize their efforts, and provide lots of pre-correction/opportunities to practice expected behaviors (for example, explain and practice “walking feet” before someone starts running in the hallway).
Want to learn more?
Check out this list of 10 Simple Strategies that teachers can use to reflect/self-check their classroom routines and expectations.
Watch this quick video (4 minutes) for an overview of why transitions matter and how teachers can make them smoother.