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Tackling Transition Times
By: Renata Bursten, Dragonfly Staff

Tips for inclusive transition strategies in preschool.

Experienced early childhood educators know about transition. Transition is the process of changing from one activity set to another, let's say from painting time to circle discussion. How well the transition goes impacts the success of the next activity in a big way.

Transition can be especially hard for preschoolers because they are often reluctant to change activities. The hustle and bustle can be confusing, and acting up is common. Children with special needs often face extra challenges in maintaining their emotional balance, and the caregiver needs some strategies for accommodating these needs.
,Here are a few hints for accommodating certain issues during transition:

For children with visual impairments, set up tactile way-marker cues like a rug runners or tape strips down walls in a hallway that can be traced with the fingers. Describe the path ahead of the child verbally, and praise the child for independence.
,Children who have a hearing impairment will appreciate a consistent cue to signal an upcoming transition time, perhaps a shoulder tap or verbal cue.

Children with gross motor delays may benefit from the "buddy" system. Helper-friends can assist in leading the child to the lunch table or the outdoor activity area.

Build a little extra time into the routine for smoother transitions. Everyone will enjoy an unhurried changeover ... including the teachers!

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Why do they put everything in their mouths?

One of the earliest fine moter skill children develop is the skill of "sensation". Sensation is the skill we use to tell the difference between a quarter and a dime by touch without needing to look at the coins. Cognitively young children have their best sensation descrimination in their mouths. By mouthing objects and then feeling them with their hands, children correlate the sensations from two different sensory input channels. ,This "sensory intgration" helps them to tune up the sensory apparatus in the hands. As the hands become more sensitive, children will need to put things in their mouths less and less. During this oral stage it is important to offer many textured grasp and handle toys. Dragonfly offers a full collection of well designed and easy to handle toys of this type.


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