Transitions take up 15 per cent of the time in a childcare setting. These include getting children to move from one class to another and having them take a toilet break.
In December 2019, Wendy Ong, Executive Principal, My First Skool (MFS) (Block 140 Serangoon North) read that young children between the ages of 18 months to 6 years old do feel anxious during transitions. Two months later, she rallied her team of teachers to brainstorm innovative ways to make transitions fun for children, and at the same time, beneficial for their growth and development.
Wendy’s team came up with a project titled ‘Move and Groove’, which consists of fun and creative activities during transitions that enhance children’s locomotor skills and benefit them in other developmental areas.
In March 2020, the school implemented the transitional activities, which enabled more than 130 children to stay engaged and have fun at school, while improving their gross motor skills. Besides that, the previously mundane transitions became smooth and meaningful, and the children found the transitions a fun routine when they moved from one activity to the next.
Examples of such transitions include pasting numbers on the floor, and children had to jump and count from 1 to 10 as they made their way to the toilet. Another was building a “bridge” with little stools stacked together, for children to learn balance while they found their way to the next class.
“Children do not like breaks in activities. Having fun transitions made it more spontaneous for the children at our school, and now, they feel excited to move on to the next activity,” Wendy said.
Outdoor play for the children also reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Wendy’s team enhanced the project in the classrooms to provide children with more physical activities indoors.
“Parents liked that we enhanced indoor physical activities, and they adopted our methods at home too,” she said.
Since ‘Move and Groove’ was implemented at MFS in 2020, Wendy has shared the positive outcomes with colleagues from other MFS schools. She intends to share her findings with more centres by the end of 2021, so that more children can benefit from creative transitions.
“I believe all schools should adopt ‘Move and Groove’, because transitions are very important for children,” she said.
For their innovative concept of making transitions less stressful for children, Wendy and her team at My First Skool (140 Serangoon North) was conferred the Early Childhood Innovation award by the Early Childhood Development Agency in 2021.