Helping children who struggle with transition to their new class

Some children find any change extremely difficult as it can evoke feelings of loss, anxiety and uncertainty. It is useful therefore that children’s transitions to new classes are managed with patience and understanding. For a child who has experienced many changes and uncertainty in their life outside of school, the transition to a new class and new teacher can be overwhelming. Children have to adapt to a new relationship, maybe a different way of working and a new class room environment, all at the end of spending six weeks away from school. The move from nursery to reception and from reception to ear one is enormous for young children and can create many anxieties. It is beneficial if children are given plenty of notice about this and if there can be several visits to their new class and opportunities to spend time with their new teacher. The more time that can be allocated to this before the summer holiday, the easier the transition and settling in process will be on their return to school.

Staff strategy – helping with transition

Teachers who will be having the class after the summer break can send each child a card over the holiday acknowledging they are looking forward to seeing them back at school and having them in their class.

I suggested the above activity to some foundation staff a few years ago and although it can feel like yet another thing to do at the end of the school year, they have all found it makes an enormous difference in helping the children to remember them and adjust to being back. The staff are now committed to doing it each year. Many of the children make reference to it and it can help the parents to keep the memory of school alive for them during the long break.

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