A stable environment is essential in the life of a young child, yet, change is something that cannot be avoided in most young children’s lives before they reach school age. Transition is the process of moving from one situation to another and taking time to adjust. Times when it is key to be supporting transition include:
- the first start a child makes from home to an early years service
- the daily transition from home to service and back again
- the transition from one activity to another
- the transition from indoor to outdoor (or vice versa)
- the transition of one room to another
- the transition from one service to another/primary school
The above transitions show that early years services play a significant part in laying strong foundations for ensuring smooth transitions for young children. To support these transitions we need to ensure that we have effective management and communication plans in place. If we can manage transition carefully then it will make the process easier for the child, the early years practitioner, and parents/family. Strong relationships between practitioners and parents build the foundation for a successful transition. For the practitioner, opening up conversations with the parents will provide information about the child which in turn will allow the practitioner to help the child process changes and transitions.
Supporting Transition in the Early Years: How We Can Help!
Tusla are identifying poor transitions as a common area of non-compliance in many services. Our new Transitions Pack has been created to help early years services to manage transition within their service. The pack includes great tips, activities and ideas to help children make the many transitions, big and small, they need to accept. The Transitions Pack provides material for children from ages 0-5 years as well as children with additional needs. The processes and routines in place supporting transitions must be flexible so that the needs of the child and their family are met. Although the activities in the pack are broken down into age and ability, a flexible approach allows you to make your own judgment in using the younger-aged activities with the older children and vice versa. The pack also includes handover forms to allow practitioners inform their colleagues about any child transitioning between key workers (from room to room). In addition to policies, tools and activities around managing transition, this pack provides some useful guides for parents in coping with their child starting in early years services or transitioning to “big school”. Print out as many copies as you like to hand out to parents of children in your service.