April 2024 Newsletter – Classroom Management: Effective Transitions

Effective Transitions

Asking children to stop what they are doing and change directions to start something new can cause strong emotions for some children. This is where possibly the most important classroom management skill comes into play: mastering transition time, which is a key factor for a well-managed classroom.

Moving from one element of the daily routine to another can be easily facilitated by creative and engaging transition activities.  There are several time-tested strategies we can implement that are both effective and fun:

  • Establish clear expectations for children. For every transition, they need to understand what is happening next, what they are expected to do, and where they need to be. When a new transition is required, be sure to introduce it during group meetings and explain the reason for it.
  • It is important that the transition activities you choose help bridge the space between activities. This means that the energy of the transition activity should align with the energy level of the next activity.  The best example may be to consider what not to do – you would not have children transition to naptime by doing 20 jumping jacks.  Instead, pick a calming activity to set the stage for nap time.
  • Provide advanced warning prior to asking children to transition, especially for children who struggle with changing gears; they may need even more warning than other children.
  • Visual cues can be implemented to support transitions, which is more important the younger our children are.  Incorporate visual clues such as countdown clocks and visual schedules, which can help the children understand the timing and sequence of transitions. Use consistent signals as cues to when an activity begins and ends, this may be a sound or a song that the students associate with transitioning to the next task.
  • An important part of mastering transitions is practice. Take the time to practice transitions with the students until they become familiar with the routine. Be positive and encouraging, and praise students who transition smoothly.
  • As with most things being well prepared goes a long way. Plan activities and have materials prepared to minimize any downtime between activities. Prepare for the unexpected by having a reserve of engaging transitional activities you can turn to if an activity does not seem to be working as intended.

Transitions may not always go as planned and routines may be off. Be flexible and adapt. If the transition routines you have in place are not working, adjust them or make new ones. The key to good transitions is consistency. Consistently implement your transition routine. Practice, patience, and support will soon have you and your students mastering transition time.


For the main article What is Classroom Management and Why is it Important?, CLICK HERE

For the article Well-Managed Classrooms Make for Positive Learning Environments, CLICK HERE

For the article Classroom Management Strategies, CLICK HERE

For the article Consistent Routines, CLICK HERE