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5 Play Experiences that Promote a Positive Transition to School

Children’s play and interactions could differ as they process their feelings about managing times of transition.

Written by: Bellbird  

 When educators are planning activities toward the end of the Kindergarten year, the attention is often focused on those associated with school readiness.

For many children, this coincides with their interest in being more independent and self-reliant, so they are drawn to them easily.  

With this in mind, it is important to take into account the varying needs of the individual members that make up the same group. It can often happen that children’s behaviour may regress during the anticipation of change, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. 

It may not be large sweeping changes it is more likely that the smallest of changes may be so small they aren’t noticeable right away.

Everyday situations could be more emotionally charged, meaning children’s play and interactions could differ from the usual pace or tone as they process their feelings about what is currently happening as well as how they perceive the future to be. 

Not so different from adults, except that they have the language and life experience to draw upon when they are anticipating change which they can express to others with more freedom and choice. 

Just as educators and families are preparing for the physical changes that will occur, this is the ideal time to offer support to children regarding their social and emotional well-being in collaboration with them; the benefit is that they will become skills for life to constantly refer to.

Puppets Can Enhance Story Time 

As a multi-sensory experience adding Worry Stones to a story in which there is a character sharing an emotional situation of their own.

Characters can explore their feelings, and there are opportunities for children to relate, either from their own experiences or of those around them. Including the stones to touch and hold as they listen can be a source of comfort. Introducing the puppets by the storyteller can demonstrate how emotions are expressed, and inviting children to represent themselves through the characters, during, or after the story encourages further independent exploration during role play.


Sensory Play Can Promote Relaxation 

Felt play invites children to discover small-world play which can promote relaxation and imagination. The soft textures and natural materials can also stimulate children’s emotions as they explore their relationships with natural and man-made resources. Pairing Play-Doh with Emotion Rollers is a gentle way to discuss feelings and emotions that will become part of their growing vocabulary and awareness of them.

Games Support Social Skills 

Games are instrumental in supporting the development of friendship and interpersonal skills. Whether in a small or large group, there are opportunities to learn how to take turns, follow instructions, and learn to manage emotions whatever the outcome. Learning to participate might mean that there can be disagreements between players or learning to plan your strategy to actively join the game.

When it comes to going to school, games are a great foundation for preparing children to learn to mix with others and when developing new cognitive skills that are often connected to how they are feeling and their mindset to growth and change.  

Loose Parts Play Creates New Worlds 

Loose Parts Play allows children to create new, unique, and individual small worlds that represent their personalities and play and learning styles. Each resource can be used in many ways to tell their stories as they engage with others. Promoting creative thinking is important in building skills like confidence, flexibility, and resilience.

For more ideas visit Bellbird's Educator Resource Page



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