Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Transitions In Preschool

Transitions are those periods of time when the children are moving from one activity to the next.
How well your day flows in your preschool classroom can depend on how well you handle your transitions.  Some of the most stressful parts of a preschool teachers day can begin with transitioning children from one activity to the next without it all ending up in a total stressful chaos moment!
Creating short, smooth transitions through out your day will provide you with more time to be spent in meaningful activities.
·         When it is time to change to the next activity, start with a warning before it’s time to end that activity.  If children know a transition is coming and has a chance to finish what they are doing, most children are likely to be agreeable to that change.
·         Preschool children are responsive to routines.  Each transition throughout the day should follow with the same pattern everyday.  Each transition should start the same way and have a few short activities, then end the same way every time.
·         Have different signals that can be used for different transitions.  Children will know what is next and what is expected of them when they hear or do the same transition for each part of their day.

Transitions types:
                                  Coming to circle
                                  Leaving circle
                                  Washing hands/meals
                                  Going outside
                                  Coming inside
                                  Going from here to there
                                  Going to relaxing and resting
                                  Waking up from rest
Use careful planning and considerations when planning transitions.  Appropriate
transitions help children move through the day with ease.

When children have settled into the familiarity of the routine, children will be more
cooperative through each transition of the day.

Transition to Clean Up Time
      Before clean up time make sure that you give children a five minute warning before it is time to clean up.   I have a chime that is hanging in my room and the children know that when they hear the chime they have five more minutes to finish what they are working on.  When the five minutes is up I start to sing a clean up song.  Children that are still working on a project and would like to return to that project later; know that I have a table that they can place those unfinished projects on.  This gives children ownership and they are more willing to clean up lets say the lego’s if they know they can finish their lego car later.  Also if children are working in the block area and they are hesitant in cleaning up because they have worked so hard on their town, I will take a digital picture of the structure so they can still admire their handy work.

Clean up Songs
Do you know what time it is?  Author Unknown
Do you know what time it is
What time it is
What time it is
Do you know what time it is it’s time to clean-up.

Tami put away the blocks
Put away the block
Put away the block
Tami put away the blocks because it’s time to clean-up

Cody put away the puzzle
Put away the puzzle
Put away the puzzle
Cody put away the puzzle because it’s time to clean-up

Acknowledge a child that is cleaning something up and sing their name and what they
are cleaning up.  Children that are acknowledged are more willing to help and clean
up.  Children want to do the right thing.

Twinkle Twinkle clean up time
(:twinkle, twinkle little star)Use a star wand and sing the song.  Move around the classroom waving the wand.   Help children clean up.

Twinkle, twinkle little star
stop and clean up where you are
Time to put the toys away
We'll bring them out another day
Twinkle, twinkle little star
stop and clean up where you are.

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho it’s clean up time     Author Unknown
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It’s clean-up time you know.
Put the toys away for another day.
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho

Keep repeating until the children are done.

Let’s board the clean-up train
Blow a train whistle so the children know that it is time to board the clean up train.  Start in an area that is hard to clean up like the block area or the dramatic play area.  Blow the whistle and start to sing.
Choo, Choo its time to board the clean up train
Chugga, Chugga, Choo, Choo
Have children form a line behind you and you go around and clean up the classroom together. This is a great one to start the year off with.  This way you can show the children where things go.

Clean-Up Inspector

When children are just about through cleaning up.  Put the inspector binoculars around your neck and carry the clean-up basket with you.  Go around the room and inspect different centers in the room.  Give positive feed back while going through the different areas.  "Inspector like the way all the blocks have been put on the shelves."  "Inspector see that we need to put some play food in the baskets."  Along the way when you find small items that did not get put away place them in your clean-up basket.  Bring your inspectors clean-up basket with you to group meeting and see if anyone wants to help the inspector find the proper home for the items in the basket.

Transition to Lining Up
Buzz Buzz Bumble Bee
Buzz, buzz bumblebees,
Flying all around.Stop stand still,
do not move around.
Shh, don’t make a sound. 
Buzz, buzz bumblebees
Catch them if you can.
Hurry up, in the jar
Before they sting your hand. 
Buzz, buzz bumblebees
Hold your jar real tight.
We will carry them outside
Then let them all take flight

Have children pretend to catch a buzzing bumble bee.

Drive, Drive, Drive 
Drive, drive, drive your car,
All around the town
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Up the hills and down. 
Click, click, click your seat belt
Buckle up before we go
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Off to town we’ll go 
Turn, turn, turn, the key
Make the engine roar.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Let’s all go to the store. 
Press, press, press the pedal
Give the engine gas
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Now we’re going fast. 
Turn, turn, turn, the wheel
That is how we steer
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Make a turn right here. 
Push, push, push the brake
Make the car slow down
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Now we’re in town. 
Beep, beep, beep the horn
Now that we are here
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Let’s all give a cheer!
I have a pretend steering wheel with a bike horn attached to it.  I beep the horn and pretend to drive around the classroom picking up all the children for outside play.

Train on the Track 
Our line needs an Engine
And it needs a caboose
We keep our line straight
And we keep our line loose
No pushing, no shoving
Our hands by our sides
As we walk, walk, walk
In our train line.

Transition to Circle or Group Time
Wiggle Worms
Here are some worms who are, oh, so sad.
They’ve lost all the wiggles that they once had.
They wonder if you, just for today.
Would lend them your wiggles so they can play
Wiggle them up and wiggle them down (have the children wiggle arms up and down)
Wiggle your worms around and around (wiggle arms around in a circle)
Wiggle them high and wiggle them low (wiggle arms high and wiggle arms low)
Wiggle them fast and wiggle them slow (wiggle arms fast and wiggle arms slow)
Wiggle them over your shoes and your socks (wiggle finger over shoe, and wiggle finger onsock)
Then wiggle them back up to their box (then have children pretend to place their worm in abox on their lap)
Thank you for sharing your wiggles today.
You’ll get them back when it’s your time to play.
Now that your wiggles are all gone from you,
I’ll tell you just what we are going to do.

I’m Ready    tune:  I’m a Little Teapot
Use with a puppet as the children are getting ready to sit at circle. 
I’m a little helper, look at me,
I’m as busy as I can be.
I put away the toys as you can see,
I’m ready for the circle, look at me.

Little Mouse
Use with a finger puppet 
A little mouse (hold up right index finger and wiggle)
Lived quietly in his hole.
A little mouse (make a hole with left hand and stick the right finger in it)lived quietly in his hole.
When all was as quiet,
As quiet as could be-Sh! Sh! Sh!
Out popped he!  (pull out right finger and wiggle) 
You can make a bunny or a caterpillar.

Molly’s Mystery Bag?
Tune:  Mary Had a Little Lamb
Use with a puppet 
Molly has a mystery bag,
Mystery bag, mystery bag
.Molly  has a mystery bag,
I wonder what’s inside? 
She will give us all a clue,
All a clue, all a clue.
She will give us all a clue,
To help guess what’s inside. 
We will have to make a guess,
Make a guess, make a guess.
We will have to make a guess,
To find out what’s inside.

Pre-K -    


  1. Great post! I really like the idea of having a designated area to put unfinished projects. Thanks for the great post! I'm pinning! :)

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  3. I LOVE the collection of transition songs! My star magic wand and I will be singing the "Twinkle Twinkle" clean up song in the new year!

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  22. Truly an informative post on Transitions in Preschool! I know that transitions are those important periods of time when children are moving from one activity to next. Being a Phoenix preschool teacher I know that this movement should be wisely planned so that kids could remember previous activities too.

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