Sunday, April 28, 2013

Preschool Classroom Structures: Turn Transition Chaos Into Calm

You know the's center time and all the little preschoolers are so engaged in their various play activities's time for clean-up!  Oh no! 
What now?


Never fear!  Super S.T.A.R. is here!  This superhero helps us (not just the kids, but the teachers too :)) remember to pull ourselves together when when the room could potentially errupt into chaos.  In Conscious Discipline S.T.A.R. means "Smile, Take a deep breath, and relax.  Each time we have a major transition, we take a moment to be a S.T.A.R. (3 times) before we move on.  Check out this short video of some of my pre-kinders using their S.T.A.R. power!

Another helpful tool for all children, especially those on the Autism Spectrum, is a Time Timer.  We set the visual timer when we have at least 5 minutes left so the children have a visual and auditory (it beeps when the time is up) cue to help them transition.  Our timer is the largest (12 inch) size so it hangs nicely on the wall. 
I also noticed that my students were having some anxiety about which centers they were going to be able to use each day and how many they would go to.  So, we made a simple picture chart on the wall to help them out.  As soon as we come back in from the playground they look at the chart, find their picture and head straight to their center.  Boy, does that make everyone's life easier or what!

By adding a little more structure to our transition routine, we have been able to turn chaos into calm.  Now instead of screaming and crying when it's time to clean up we have this...