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How to support children’s transition into school?

Updated: May 29, 2023

Bea Inclusive TV and Podcast Episode 016

Hi there,

Last time I talked about how to teach healthy anger management to children. In this episode of Bea Inclusive TV, I will focus on how to prepare our provision and help children transition to school.

Let me also say a huge thank you to all who subscribed to my channel. I appreciate that you are here. Thanks to you, I can post more videos like this. Please make sure you will hit the like button as this makes the video more visible on the YouTube channel, and more people will be able to learn for free.

If you are new to me – my name is Bea, and this VLOG is dedicated to advocating truly inclusive school provision through well-researched, safe and recommended approaches such as Lego-based Therapy.

So, I invite you to follow my journey in creating genuinely inclusive provisions to help you support children and develop your skills. Are you ready? Let’s go!

There may be times when it becomes more challenging to do so than usual. Therefore, in collaboration with local authorities and health partners (where applicable), you should work with families to co-produce alternative arrangements for delivering provision.

These decisions should be considered on a case-by-case basis which takes account of the needs and circumstances of the child or young person, avoiding a 'one size fits all' approach.

Our children may be feeling anxious or confused. Some are eager to return, and others are nervous and unhappy with the change, so our role is to decrease the anxiety and help transition.

To reintegrate children back into a school routine, we must carefully consider our children's lockdown experience (some children may not have a lot of structure or social time during the lockdown, or maybe some may be less independent).

Other things to consider are communication issues (some children may forget how to communicate effectively positively or develop new, negative ways of expressing their needs).

Third, a crucial issue is adapting to the change, the explosion of social interactions and emotional support, especially in the first week back to school.

Of course, you could say that I forgot about the academic gap, but I did not. I'm simply prioritising. In the first week back to school, children's primary goals are to get used to the routine and all the changes in the environment and reduce accumulated anxiety.

So, if you wonder what to do academic-wise, I suggest planning something children are familiar with or enjoy doing.

This does not mean that we forget about the STRUCTURE, national curriculum, and we plan free to play all day.

I suggest planning familiar academic activities and games. Ensure you structure the day with the visual schedule for the whole class and the individual children where necessary. Using structure and visuals will decrease children's anxiety and give them a sense of safety and security.

I always compare changes like this to the first day at school, and I encourage you to act now and plan how to address these issues to ease the transition.

REMEMBER that well planned and executed transition will eliminate unwanted challenging behaviour and create a joyous first day back. This means less stress for teachers, parents, and children.

Introducing changes gradually will make it easier for children, so I would create the transition book and send it/email it to parents/children at home.

But Bea -What should I include in the transition book – you will ask.

I will place a list of things that I believe you should include in your transition book but remember that the book is like the social story and MUST be personalised to your SEND children, so please make sure they are individualised and adapted.

This first morning, after such a long-time off school, maybe incredibly stressful for families, so it's good to remind them to go to bed earlier and prepare the morning routine in advance.

A smooth morning for the child can make a difference in the school's behaviour and vice versa. The school activities must be balanced so the child's anxiety will stay low so that when they return home, they will not trash the place to steam out accumulated emotions in the school. So please do not forget to include relaxation, breathing, grounding activities, sensory toys, sensory breaks, etc.

The Transition book/social story should give children an idea of the changes when they return to school. This should be prepared in advance and sent to families so they can prepare themselves for the changes. This will help children to decrease their anxiety level, give them a sense of security, and remind them of how things look like (as your transition book for SEND children – should include pictures of the class, teachers, sitting place, groups/bubbles, breaks, resources, sanitising stations, toilets, etc.). If your staff wears masks or other forms of protection, attaching pictures of the class team with and without them would be good.

You can even make a game out of Guess Who – a matching game). You can send the visual countdown calendar to ease the worry or excitement of returning to school and help with the time concept.

To make the school transition smoother, I like to create checklists and weekly schedules, as children prefer to know what's on each day in advance.

Don't forget to dust off your visual prompts, including emotional prompt cards, sensory toolbox, yoga mats, etc.

I would avoid competitive games and novelties on that day as many children could not socialise and may struggle with losing concepts.

The last thing to consider is lunchtime. After such a long time out of school, children may get used to a different type of food, which may cause unnecessary stress. Please ensure that children will know what for lunch in the first week and add this to your transition book so families can plan if the child will be eating school dinner and what the options are. There should be at least two food choices for the child. If children and families know in advance that on Monday the 8th for lunch will make their child nervous or they understand the child will not eat anything, they can send the lunch box that day.

Remember to get through the transition book in the school. After the relaxation/ mindfulness session, this should be the first thing you do. Simply discuss the transition book and ask the children to remind you what's on this week. Ask them about their emotions and share them with yours. Next, get through the routine and rules and ask children if they are on the school dinner or lunch box.

Transitioning it's essential to the genuinely inclusive provision, not only before and during the first day at school but every day.

There you have it!

I hope this episode of Bea Inclusive TV helped you with this challenging transition time and that you will prepare yourself and your children well.

Do you use transition books/social stories in your setting? If you do, please share your ideas with us. What else have you prepared for the children you support? Again, please share your ideas so we can learn together. And last one thing – how do you feel about this massive change? How will you look after yourself in this exciting but stressful time?

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Please comment below the video and consider subscribing to my channel, as this will help me to create more videos like this one, and more people will be able to learn for FREE.

Please do not forget to hit the like button.

Until the Next Time

With love



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