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R OUTINES AND T R ANSITIONS π Nap or relaxation time and undressing π Dressing Beyond meeting physiological needs, routine activities contribute to the emotional well-being of children. They help children acquire time aware- ness by making them anticipate what will come next. They foster a feeling of security essential to trust building. B. What is a transition activity? Transition activities are usually simple and brief. They are meant to connect two longer activities. They serve to regulate and punctuate the day. These moments announce a change, either of activi- ties, of area, of play partners, or of educators. They include: π Tidying and cleaning up π Gathering in a group π Group movement π Arrivals and departures π Unavoidable waiting periods A good transition makes a connection between activities. Transitions respect the rhythm of chil- dren as much as possible and encourage children’s participation and autonomy according to their stage of development. They are easy to set up and require little or no materials. Transitions require particular attention from educators to organize the sequence of activities in a harmonious way. Careful planning of the sequence of activities and creative use of the time between activities limit the tensions and upheavals within a group of children. 1.5 Summary of the democratic approach applied to routine and transition activities Learning specific behaviors such as eating neatly, buttoning up a coat, putting toys away, mov- ing around calmly, or waiting patiently in the entryway depends upon the quality of the inter- ventions made by the educator. Safety, access to educators, reassuring guidance, self-control, and adequate organization are essential for children to get through routines and transitions in the most positive way possible. These times often try the patience and the creativity of early childhood edu- cators. Just think of getting children dressed in winter in cold climates, when children have to be coaxed into putting on snowsuits, mittens, boots, and hats, all in a limited time to avoid traffic jams in the entryway and children getting impatient. How many times do educators repeat the same instructions? “Hurry up—the others are ready to go out.” “Hurry up—I already asked you three times to get dressed.” How many stressful events can take place when helping two-year-olds get dressed? One cries and asks the educator to take her into her arms, another has a runny nose, and two dash out of the entryway. These transitions are demanding and stressful for both educators and children. The following set of educational strategies— human environment, physical environment, time management, children’s needs, and educational values—helps to ensure harmonious routine and transition activities while respecting the needs of each child. (See Figure 1.1 at the end of this chapter.) A. Human environment strategies π Ensure the stability of the educators. π Foster continuity between home and the child care setting to minimize adaptation dif- ficulties. Initiate a partnership between the family and the educational staff to foster con- tinuity between both environments. π Create situations where children can act on their own as much as possible. For instance, teach children how to wash their hands effectively at the sink instead of wiping the