Transitions happen to everyone, every day, every week, every month, and every year. They are an integral part of our lives and can be major or minor. Just like you, children may welcome transitions and change, or they might be reluctant or hesitant.
For children, transitions can bring about a range of emotions and sometimes prove to be stressful, challenging or disruptive to their play. Children face many transitions in their everyday life. The majority are not by choice, rather they are decided for them and across all aspects of their lives; in early childhood settings, at home, at school and in society.
A typical day at an early learning centre can involve many transitions for a child, from routine times to room changes, to different educators coming into the room. Children then transition to go home to more transitions, with mealtimes, bathing, and night routines. More often than not, these occur with little control or consultation. This helps children build resilience and develop important skills that will prepare them for life.
Many transitions occur in an early childhood setting, including transitioning between indoors and out, mealtimes, nappy changes, sleep times and changing rooms. At G8 Education, our educators and teachers ensure that children are supported when they face challenges during transitions, to make children and families feel safe and secure.
Progressive mealtimes are becoming more common in early childhood settings. At G8 Education, we provide children with greater choice, more freedom and respect to make decisions about when they are ready to eat and what they would like to eat. This helps them become capable and competent in making decisions about their own health and well-being. When it comes to approaching mealtimes, rather than interrupting or stopping children from their play and learning, our educators and teachers tend to give the children time to finish their work or encourage them to revisit their play after eating.
When it comes to rest times, our educators and teachers often reflect upon whether children are given choices about their rest, or are governed by other factors. Involving young children in preparing for sleep by setting up their beds enables children to be more autonomous and take ownership of their routine times. Children who do not require sleep should be offered an alternative in which their bodies are able to rest.
When a child is moving up to the next room, they may be excited and nervous at the same time. Our educators and teachers aim to make transitions smooth and successful for the child and family. At G8’s early learning centres, we prepare the children by providing them opportunities to build relationships with the educators in the next room in a planned way. The educators usually start by visiting the room to build relationships. The child then can start visits to the next room, slowly building up positive relationships with the children and educators in the room and becoming familiar with the routines within the room.
Taking time to gradually transition children respectfully and in collaboration with them and their families, has a positive outcome for all.
Other significant transitions that happen in a child’s life may include moving house, the birth of a new sibling or the separation of parents. These changes can have an enormous impact on their lives and their families’ lives, so it is important to consider how families and carers can work together with the child’s early learning centre during this time. For more information and tips on how to support children through changes, transitions and events, click here.
Umina Child Care Centre, Umina, Central Coast of NSW. Transitions between groups, setting and Beyond Case Study 1. Early Childhood Australia. Retrieved 4th January 2022.
Footscray Nicholson Children’s Centre. Victoria University. Transitions between groups, setting and Beyond Case Study 2. Early Childhood Australia. Retrieved 4th January 2022.
MLC Kindle, Transitions between groups, setting and Beyond Case Study 3. Early Childhood Australia. Retrieved 28th February 2022.