Preschool Transitions Between Activities

Circle and Large Group Transitions

Circle activities can help everyone to get ready for the next part of the routine, as well as help children feel part of the group. Circle times can also be another transitional problem if: the teacher is not prepared and keeps the children waiting; there is not enough space for everyone; activities prepared are not appropriate for the particular age or a large group; the children are forced, rather than invited to participate; guidelines for group time behavior are not clear. A big problem often occurs when group times are too long. Plan realistically for the group’s attention span. Ask the children for their ideas for group time activities. A group time can also be used to help with the other transitions. For example, during a group time after breakfast, you can talk to the children about morning activities, have a few at a time select an activity and move to it while another teacher is setting up.

Getting ready for group time

Often you can start right into a song or fingerplay while a few children are still talking and you get everyone’s attention quickly. On other occasions, some “quieting downers” are required.

“Let’s open our cars.” (pretend to turn on imaginary knobs at cars)

“Let’s put on our listening hats.” (you could use real or imaginary hats)

“Let’s stretch our ears like long rabbit ears so we can hear really well.”

“Let’s row, row, row our boats to Storyland.” (sing Row, row, row your boat several times, getting quieter each time until singing has reached a whisper)


I’ll wiggle my fingers and wiggle my toes,

I’ll wiggle my arms and wiggle my nose.

And now that all the wiggles are out,

We’ll listen to what circle’s about.

My Fingers

I stretch my fingers away up high

Until they almost reach the sky.

I lay them in my lap and you see

Where they’re as quiet as they can


Ten Little Fingers

I have 10 little fingers and they all belong to me (hands upright)

I can make them do things, would you like to see?

I can shut them up tight (fists) or open them wide,

I can put them together or make them all hide (closed fists together)

I can make them jump high (swing hands above head)

Or make them go low (swing hands down low)

I can fold them up quickly and hold them just so (hands in lap).