Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Helping Children with Transitions

Helping young children transition from active times to more quiet parts of your lesson can be a challenge. You can create activities especially designed to give them a chance to calm down and turn on their listening ears. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Give children a warning when moving from one activity to another. A couple of minutes before you want them to finish what they are doing, say, "This is your two-minute warning. We will start putting away the toys (or crayons) in two minutes." As adults, we get frustrated when someone interrupts what we're doing. Children often have the same frustration when we stop their activity abruptly instead of giving them time to finish what they're doing.
  • If you want your students to move from an active to a quiet activity, provide a transition activity to help them calm down and get the wiggles out. This can be an action rhyme, "The Wiggle Song," a march around the room (getting slower and quieter each time around), or an action song such as "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" (getting faster and faster; then getting slower with each round until everyone ends by sitting down).
  • Play a game such as "Follow the Leader" to get the wiggles out before your quiet time. Tell the children that in this game everyone must do what the leader does. Explain that everyone can have a turn at being the leader. Begin by having the children walk around the room following your motions. Then begin to hop, skip, or tiptoe and have the children imitate your actions. Give each child a turn to be the leader (do not force any child to do this). As the child leads say, "It's fun to follow a leader. [Kayla] is being a good leader. We learn by following good leaders." Conclude the game by having the children follow you one more time as you move slowly to the story rug and then sit down quietly for the Bible story.
  • Do a fun action rhyme before the Bible story time, to help your students calm down and begin to focus their attention on you, the teacher. 
    Here's a rhyme you can try with your class to help with the transition to your Bible story about Jesus dying and coming alive again. Before doing the rhyme together, hold your open Bible and explain that the Bible is God's Word and it is true. Show your students how to hold their hands together, palms up, to look like an open Bible. Now lead them in this rhyme (younger children will either say the words with you or do the motions but probably won't be able to do both, which is fine).

    The happy birds sing in the trees.
         (Flap arms like a bird.)
    The pretty flowers nod in the breeze.
         (Nod head and sway from side to side.)
    The kangaroos jump up with joy.
         (Jump and hop.)
    Why are they happy? Hear them say
         (cup hand behind ear and say together),
    "Our Jesus is alive today!"

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