This was the comment posted by a senior member of staff from a primary school after she read the pre-summer TRANSITION article.
Her staff all read the article and discussed it together with the suggested activities, and this was some of their learning. WOW!!!
Have a read and I’d love to hear about other things that resonated with you or were applied from the last article in your school…
It seems an age away since I wrote this at the end of term – then I didn’t get around to posting it. So here are my further thoughts on transition!
I found that some staff struggled with the idea of ‘bereavement’ in terms of what a child might be going through. Other staff read the article and said ‘yes, that’s exactly how it is.’ I guess this will depend on their personal experiences but it did create a lot of positive discussion.
Several children seemed to like the idea of writing a list together with their LSA/TA. The staff felt that children were quite pleased to do this and wanted to keep a copy. It was a special time of sharing something worthwhile for both involved.
The idea of a letter went down well with other children and was approached in different ways. One child wanted his TA to write down some questions he had for his new teacher. The usual mundane questions weren’t important he had one important question to ask about his new teacher… ‘Are they kind?’ It really brought it home to me where the child was in his thinking and how anxious he must have felt at that time in the school year.
One particular child has had a really tough term and we thought we had done quite well in preparing him for the transition. In the penultimate week of term he had had a particularly difficult week with his outbursts escalating in intensity. On the Friday afternoon he sat with his teacher and asked a couple of questions. He wanted to know if anyone would be in next week or would the school be empty. It was only when he asked this question that it dawned on us that he thought it was the last day of school…. Ouch!
We had prepared so many things carefully and yet we hadn’t figured in the timescale for him. It was a painful realisation for us.
It became much clearer as to why he had had such a difficult week and was struggling. Next year we will need to consider how to share the countdown and make the timescale clear – yet in a sensitive way for our children.
Having now returned to school the staff have gone and found their previous pupils to ‘check in’ with them as well as to talk to the child with their new TA/LSA.
Specific children still have a lot of ‘settling in’ to do in their new class however we have found your ideas to be really useful and feel we have better supported them in terms of transition this year. The way you described the intensity of the feelings children might experience really made us think and we feel it helped us to deal with situations in a much more sensitive way.
Thank you! ☺