Friday 11th June: Hearing children’s voices about the transition to school.

Over the past few weeks I have been working with an establishment around transition to p1. Being in an Early Learning Setting at this time of year in the current climate (Covid) has left me feeling a bit anxious for the children around their transition to Primary 1 and I figured if I am feeling this way, then there may be children feeling the same and worse in the absence of their traditional transition experiences!! During my time here, new guidance was published around garden transition visits going ahead and encouraging these so visits have promptly been arranged for the children. The school themselves have also produced a wonderful set of weekly Sway presentations shared with parents and carers including some home activities that were encouraged to be shared. I have created a “virtual display” of just a snapshot of some of the experiences we have offered in the establishment to maximise and complement the transition experience and minimise any anxiety surrounding the change.

Line Drawings – This is Me

To complement our concise transition profiles, we wanted to really capture what the children wanted the teacher to know about them. We titled a piece of paper “This is me” and allowed children to draw a simple line drawing and scribed all of the things that they said as a child friendly introduction to their new teacher. These drawings will be passed onto the new teacher and also shared individually on each child’s profile for carers to see what is important to their children and how they view themselves through their own eyes.

Stories to support the recognition of and discussion about feelings.

We have read some books to prepare us for some of the feelings and changes. The children have really enjoyed the books and often ask for them in the book corner. Here are some Youtube readings of the books that you can re-share at home. – The Colour Monster – a great story identifying feelings and linking to colours. We extended this by using paint colour swatches in check in with the children and creating colour pictures. – The Colour Monster Goes to School – The popular Colour Monster character starts school! – Whiffy Wilson: The Wolf Who Wouldn’t Go to School – Another loveable character nervous to go to school.

All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell – YouTube – Emphasises all the different strengths people can have – not just the “academic” which could be a worry for children. – The Huge Bag of Worries – can open a dialogue and introduces a strategy for dealing with worries – maybe you could make your own worry bag at home? Similarly worry monsters can be commercially purchased.

Worries and Wonders.

After reading some of the books and identifying some of our feelings about the transition to school, we decided to collate some of our “wonders and worries” around school. These have been sent to school for the staff to answer for us to put our minds at rest. We also received some pictures from school of the environment, which we have put into a social story to be shared in the book areas over and over again, to help the children become more familiar with this environment.


What’s in the Bag?

During my time working with the children, I have found a very popular experience to be “What’s in the Bag” – essentially a “lucky dip” sparkly bag that I fill with various objects and children take turns feeling, guessing and sharing whilst singing “What’s in the Bag”. I decided to fill my sparkly bag in one session with objects relating to school and this sparked some great chat around these objects, what they were for and if they had seen them before etc. I have photographed some the objects below. Carers may wish to recreate this experience at home if they have some of these objects, or even print the pictures. Children may wish to cut and stick these pictures to make their own book about what they need at school.

By Emma Williamson

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