Turning troublesome transitions into triumph

There is one time of day in my classroom that I would call the biggest transition of our day and it falls just before we head outside to play.

You could describe that transition as troublesome. It is noisy, somewhat chaotic, and seemingly unorganized as the children go from cubby to mailbox to back packs to putting on jackets and finally lining up to head outdoors.

I recently read a comment where the commenter described transitions as “a waste of time.” I thought about that comment as I considered my own “troublesome transition” and came to the conclusion that although the transition may be troublesome – it was by far NOT a waste of time.

During this seemingly chaotic time, my students are building daily life skills from putting on jackets to zipping up zippers.

During this seemingly unorganized time, my students are building organizational skills from stacking and folding up papers or artwork and then putting everything away neatly in their backpacks.

During this seemingly waste of time, my students are learning to help each other, follow simple steps to accomplish a goal, and learning the value of waiting patiently on each other so we can go outside as a community to play.


Are transitions troublesome? Yes, they most certainly can be. But are they a waste of time? I think it is all in the approach. If the approach is to have children standing around waiting on the teacher, then perhaps the time is wasted. But if the approach is to build skills, promote independence, and work together as a community to accomplish tasks then that troublesome transition can actually be quite triumphant!

More to Grow On

I recently participated in Bam Radio Show segment hosted by Rae Pica titled: “Five Tips to Chaos-Free, Learning-Filled Transitions!”  Check it out to see listen to the discussion and learn more about dealing constructively with transitions.

Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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