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Good Transitions for Preschoolers in a Classroom

    Transition Cues

    • Signaling to your preschool students that it is time, or almost time, to transition to a new activity helps them prepare for the activity shift. Set a timer to go off when it is time to clean up an activity or as a reminder a minute or two before the activity is finished. Flashing the classroom lights, playing music, singing a song or clapping your hands are also ways of signaling transition time to your class. Once you have informed students of the transition, remind them of what they should do as part of the transition, such as cleaning up their toys or walking to the carpet for circle time.

    Attention-Grabbing Activities

    • Help preschool children transition into a new classroom activity by getting their attention before starting your lesson. Sing a favorite classroom song or recite a poem together to get students focused and engaged in the lesson. A game of follow the leader is another effective way at gathering the attention of your preschoolers during transition times. Start the game by whispering, "If you can hear me, clap your hands," and add addition tasks, such as making a silly face, standing up or touching toes, until all the children in the room are following your instructions.

    Calming Activities

    • Use calming activities to help settle preschool students into a new activity. Have children complete a "time-in" activity as part of transition time by letting them sit quietly for a short period of time to see if they can hear their breathing or heartbeat, suggests the Scholastic website. A quiet stone or other special object passed through the group often aids young students in the transition process. Select an interesting object, such as a smooth rock or crystal, and tell students you will pass it around the group for everyone to look at. Explain that after each child has had a turn, he must be quiet until the object has made it around the whole group.

    Other Transition Tips

    • A well-prepared environment, such as one with specific locations for toys and assigned spots for students helps preschoolers know what to do during transition times. When it is time to release preschool students from a group, keep them engaged by releasing them individually or in small groups. Invite students wearing a certain color or wearing a specific article of clothing to leave the group together. You might say, "All students wearing purple can get in line," dismiss them by the first or last letter in their name or toss a small stuffed animal to each student when it is her turn to get up.

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