Transition is part of the maturation process. Most children and their families find moving from one stage to the next seamless. Transitions need careful planning and will need sensitive handling for all children and families. Some children and families will find the change more problematic and will therefore need greater consideration.
Having as many opportunities to visit the next phase is really useful. It gives time to “let go of the old and take hold of the new”. Walking past the new school can be a useful way to begin to get the child used to moving on. You could talk about all the things that are the same as well as identifying those that will be different. Seeing the playground with children in it playing can help the child to get used to larger numbers of children, if they are going into reception and the reception children use the playground with the older children.
The Little Den Nursery often take children with them on school collections. This gives the children many opportunities to ‘take hold of the new’ and to become really familiar with transition times at the school. Knowing the expectations at these times is invaluable to children as they will be well prepared. They will have begun to build up a relationship with the staff in the new setting.
Having resources which reflect the new setting can be useful too. These might include photographs of the new classrooms, new staff members, and places such as the toilets. When producing these resources, it is important to understand what children feel they need to know about the new place. Young children’s focus is often different to that of the adults. Knowing where the toilets are and the expectations surrounding them is crucial for young children. These opportunities are great for thinking about similarities and differences which is central to understanding the world.
If a child is transferring between rooms in a setting, knowing where they have been and the types of experiences they have been offered as a result is hugely beneficial so that progression is continued. The going out log should help with this and the mapping exercise could also be useful here.