Supporting children’s smooth transition


2: Supporting children’s smooth transition

The EC and EI educators’ role are crucial in transition as they can facilitate continuity of learning, allowing children to build upon the skills, knowledge, and experiences gained. This seamless progression helps children maintain the momentum in their learning and supports their overall development.

One of the key transitions that can happen in a preschool is a child transiting to a new class in the new year. As an ICO, do work with your centre leader to establish good practices to support this transition:

1. WHO: EC educators of the current and new class, EI educators, Parents, Centre Leader where needed.

2. WHAT:

  • Set goals for the transition. These are different from the child’s IEP goals, as these are specific to aiding the child’s adjustment to a new environment.
  • Outline strategies and discuss any
  • Share info such as: child’s strengths, areas of improvement, learning style, interests, and individual needs
  • Share important documentation such as assessment reports progress reports, IEP, strategies, specific support or accommodations that may be necessary to support the child’s needs.
  • Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate the child's achievements and milestones together as a team. Recognize the collective effort and the positive impact of effective teaming on the child's development

3. WHEN: Discuss transition 1-2 months before the end of the school year. Ensure regular meetings before and after transition.

  • ICO can suggest tapping on existing forums for EC, EI, and parents to discuss the child’s progress in transitioning:
    • i. EI professionals can sit-in Parents-Teaching Meeting
    • ii. EC can sit in for case conference meeting with EI team
    • iii. For DS-LS: EC can sit in during SWP meeting/ IEP meeting/ EOI meeting

4. HOW: Organise a classroom visit for the child to let the child familiarise with the new environment. This can include the child spending a spends a few hours in the next class level while still attending the current class (e.g., One to two months before the transition, the children can participate in activities in the next grade level classroom). This provides them with an opportunity to experience the activities in the next class level.

Check out these additional resources to support children’s transition back to school!

Additional tips for parent engagement, especially if the child is newly enrolled in the centre:
  • Share with parents/caregivers that the child may need time to adjust to the preschool environment. It is natural for child to take time to adapt. Changes in behaviour is expected. This may include crying, shouting, rolling on the floor and some regressive behaviour.
  • Seek parents/caregivers’ understanding that educators and peers may need time to learn how best to engage and interact with child. There could be instances where children ask “why is ___ like that” and EC educators are encouraged to speak to children with inclusive mindset. This includes saying, we are all different and we all need time, etc.

ICOs can encourage EC and EI educators to positively engage and involve parents in their child’s learning and development. Parents can provide additional views and can help to continue to reinforce the child’s learning at home.

Here are some resources the ICO can share with EC and EI educators:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Engaging parents

You can consider the following:

  1. Respect parent’s decision of not having the conversation and acknowledge that parents may need more time or have different views or concerns.
  2. Share observations with documentation support to share child’s strengths and areas of growths, achievements, and challenges in the classroom.
  3. Offer resources by providing parents with educational resources or articles related to children development

When faced with conflicts or challenging conversations with parents, educators can:

  1. Remain calm and professional, prioritizing the best interests of the child.
  2. Listen actively to the parent's perspective, try to understand and address their concerns.
  3. Use empathetic and non-confrontational language.
  4. Collaboratively explore solutions or compromises that address both the parent's and the child's needs.
  5. Document any discussions, agreements, or resolutions reached during the conversation.

Support within my centre

  1. Share different examples of children with DN’s behaviours and share the similarities and differences as well as their strengths and areas of needs.
  2. ICOs can try to lead by example to demonstrate inclusive practices and serve as a role model.
  3. ICOs can share success stories and challenges. Highlight the positive outcomes and how ICOs overcome the challenges.
  4. ICOs can work with centre leader to incorporate inclusion into PD and can recommend inclusion-related courses into the centre-wide PD calendar, to encourage a culture of inclusion:
  • Schedule these events ahead of time
  • Block out PD trainings that may benefit EC educators

ICOs can support the EC professionals to:

  1. Adopt a growth mindset. Instead of “I cannot do it”, reframe to “I cannot do it yet.”
  2. If ECs are facing challenges in managing children with DN, the ICO may chat with them to identify potential gaps or needs they have.
    • E.g. “What would make you feel more equipped or supported?”
    • E.g. “Is there any skill or content area you would like to know more about?”
  3. To coordinate with EI team for additional training/workshop/group discussion to support EC professionals or parents.
Try to make little adjustments to the physical learning environment to accommodate the child's needs. This may include including visual supports in the classroom, changes to seating arrangements, classroom organisation, or the inclusion of sensory-friendly spaces (e.g., soft-play areas, areas with dimmed lights).
Speak to your Centre Lead to explain the situation and propose what additional support or resources would help the child. Be prepared with specific examples of which materials would address which concerns. You can also share how these resources not only apply to children with DN, but TD children can benefit from them as well.

Transitions for the child

To address separation anxiety, educators can create welcoming routines, provide comfort objects or transitional items, encourage parents or caregivers to gradually transition the child into the new school/class, and maintain a warm and supportive presence during the separation. Consistent reassurance and building trust can help alleviate anxiety.
Peer support plays an important role in facilitating smooth transitions. Educators can encourage peer interactions, assign a buddy and create opportunities for cooperative activities or shared experiences. Peer support helps children feel connected, valued, and more comfortable in their new environment.
If parents are unable to meet with you in person, encourage them to communicate with you via phone, online meetings, email, or communication book, whichever they prefer. This will help you stay in touch and get their feedback on their child's progress.
When engaging with parents who deny that their child has any negative/challenging behaviours, educators can reframe to build on parents’ success rather than trying to “prove” their own concerns. Ask parents to share what strategies they use at home, which the child responds well to, so ICOs/educators can try those out in preschool.