Preschool Transitions Between Activities
I use a number of techniques to assist in my transitions. I like to use music to transition to cleaning and snack. I also feel that it is important to provide a warning about how much time is left with a current activity (i.e., two more minutes and it is time to clean up). I sometimes set a timer for this warning (some children are very aware of what two minutes feels like)! When transitioning from one room to another, I’ve found that distraction works well. I usually play a game with my preschoolers. For example, we may pretend to be birds and fly to the next room. The children seem to enjoy thinking of new things to pretend to be and they usually transition without any problems.
For clean-up time I play a few chords on the piano and sing the following song (tune: London Bridge is Falling Down). Everybody pick up toys, pick up toys, pick up toys. Everybody pick up toys, in our classroom.
I learned this great rhyme from a teacher I observed that we sing before we walk in line down the hallway. My hands are hanging by my side, I’m standing straight and tall, my eyes are looking straight ahead I’m ready for the hall.
I’m a preschool teacher for three-year-olds. A song I learned seems to calm the kids down before snack. When I set them at the table, I have them put their hands in the air. We say together: open shut them, open shut them (open & close fists) give a Little clap (clap on the word clap) open shut them, open shut them (repeat open/closed fist) Put them in your lap (put your hands in your lap)
Transition times require a lot of thought because these unstructured times can be difficult for children. Here is one transition that worked for me in a preschool setting:
Point to the window
Point to the door
Point to the ceiling
Point to the floor
Point to your elbow
Point to your knee
Point to you and point to me.
It gets their attention on you!
When settling down for a quiet time we recite the following rhyme: Here are grandma’s glasses ( put thumbs and forefingers together and place over eyes. Here is grandma’s hat (form teepee on head with hands.) And here is how she folds her hands and lays them in her lap.
Here are grandpa’s glasses (form circle on eyes with fingers and thumbs. I usually use a deeper voice) Here is grandpa’s hat. (teepee on head) And here is how he folds his arms just like that. (Put arms akimbo.) Children may have to be shown how to put arms akimbo the first time.
To make sure my guys are listening to me – I use comments like – “If you are listening to me touch your head, If you listening to me put your hands on your hips…etc” I keep changing the body part until all the kids in my program (sometimes 30 at once) are playing the game.
When I walk my 3-year-olds down to large motor we have to walk through the whole center, including the baby room. I tell my children that we are going to “tiptoe” through the baby room. I elaborately demonstrate a tiptoe and put my finger to my lips and say SHHH. The children imitate it the whole way to the gym. They move slowly and quietly because you can’t run when you tiptoe! Whenever I forget this step the children tend to run and trip.
Every morning we do our wake up warm up: we begin by getting a rhythm, clapping hands stepping sideways .teacher starts then children repeat (until they get used to it, then whomever leads varies); Get down get funky get loose and move to the beat you get your whole body moving and you start with your feet (this next verse the children join in with the teacher) i said your feet 2 3 4 (march) your knees 2 3 4 (bend knees) your hips 2 3 4 (move hips) your arms 2 3 4 (stretch arms) your neck 2 3 4 (move neck) you fingers 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20(open and shut fingers) (all children freeze) now you have their attention)