Transition is a strategy used to support children to feel safe, secure and supported as they move through changes in the environment. They provide continuity and predictability that will allow children to prepare for expectations or changes that are about to occur.
They can be used to help children move from the home to playgroup environment, move children between settings in the learning environment or to move children from the playgroup environment back to home. They can be used for many other activities as well such as to signal bedtimes, dinner, or visits to the doctor or shopping centre.
Children respond well to predictability and preparation. For children with ASD, they may require and really value a little bit more preparation to know that changes are going to occur. This will support smooth movement and continuity between environments and prepare them for the task and the changes that are about to take place.
Some common times in a playgroup setting that may require transition include:
- Pack away time
- Washing hands
- Morning tea
- Group time
- Home time
Here are a variety of transition strategies that can be used at playgroup.
Verbal preparation – prepare children by letting them know what is about to happen. Eg. “In 5 minutes, we will help pack away the toys, and then sit down together for morning tea”
Clocks or egg timers – in addition to using a verbal preparation, a visual aid such as an egg timer or visual clock can be complimentary to this process. Eg. Start the clock 5 minutes before pack away time is about to occur so that children know when it is time to move to another setting.
Visual pictures/wall charts – display pictorials or visuals that signal the steps or expectations around a change, action or routine. Eg. pictures that depict the sequence of the playgroup day and what will happen during the session.
Social stories – simple sentences attached to photos that can display routines, actions or expectations around an activity or event. Eg. Social story about attending playgroup and what happens during a session.
Special activity – using activities themselves can signal transition and it is not uncommon to run either a group time or parachute activity at the end of a playgroup session. Not only can this be a lot of fun, but it will prepare children for the knowledge that this signals the end of session and home time.
Transition songs or sounds – These can be used by implementing a sound such as bells or a piece of music. Alternatively, you can develop your own which is easily achieved by pairing simple instructions to popular nursery rhymes or songs. These are beneficial as they use moving faces, human voices and include group engagement where everyone can sing along.
The following examples are adapted to the music “London Bridge is Falling Down”
Pack Away Song
Everybody pack away, pack away, pack away
Everybody pack away, it’s time to pack away
Washing Hands Song
Everybody wash your hands, wash your hand, wash your hands
Everybody wash your hands, it’s time for morning tea
Everybody sitting down, sitting down, sitting down
Everybody sitting down, it is group time
Everybody say goodbye, say goodbye, say goodbye
Everybody say goodbye, it is home time