Discuss the transition faced by the children/young people in your setting. Explain how the children and their parents/ carers are affected by these changes and reflect on the most appropriate ways to respond with reference to workplace policies and procedures. Suggest relevant further sources of information and support for the children, young people and their parents/ carers.
This assignment will discuss the transitions faced by children and their parents including horizontal and vertical transitions. It will also explain planned and unplanned changes in children’s life and how children and their parents may influence by those changes as well as suggesting the most appropriate ways to respond to those changes using the work place policies and procedures.
Children potentially face a number of transitions in their early lives including vertical, horizontal, planned and unplanned transitions (DFE 2008). One of the most significant consequences of social change for the young children is the shift from home to day care. Dunlop & Fabian (2007) explained in the modern life some children have to go through few transitions and looked after by different people throughout a day or a week. Horizontal transition is where children go from home to school, then picked up by the after- school carer and taken to football club or art classes. However, vertical transitions deal with moves and changes for the child between educational settings and take place over a number of years, for example, transition from pre-school to school, but also inside school between the grades and various teachers, where the move is gradual. Shotton (2008) suggests many young children struggle with transition. These changes can be particularly difficult for some children yet for others can be positive and exciting, beginning to new experiences and finding new friends. O’Connor (2012), pointed out that Children images of themselves as learners are influenced generally by their school experience where they learn to cope well with their emotional when their needs are being met. Page (2000), recommended that going through a transition is a learning skill on its own. It is therefore, important that children build resilience to these changes.
Adjusting and settling in to a new environment is hard enough for adult, and how well people are able to do this will depend on the resilience that they have built up during their lives. This is no different for young children. Godfrey (2011), suggested in order for children to have the flexibility to deal with important life changes, practitioners must ensure that children’s emotional well being is well supported to deal successfully with the daily transitions they experience. To achieve this Brooker (2008) suggests a pre-entry visit for children and their parents and flexible admission procedures that give children and their parents the opportunity to have a positive start to their first day will help to plan a smooth transition for children. Furthermore, Thelen& Klifman (2011) suggested that buddy techniques, such as pairing a child who needs help settling in, with an encouraging, supportive classmate, are successful in inclusive and general education settings. It is important for every school to have a settling in policy for the practitioners to follow in order to make the transitions easier for the young children, however when there is not one available in the practitioner’s work place, there are various form that can be made available to the parents during the admission to the nursery to help the practitioners getting to know the children, their parents and gathering information to make a transition easier for young children (appendix 1).
Also, as recommended by Macleod (2008), the practitioner’s work place, provides each child with an assigned key person to ensure every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs and to help the children become familiar with the setting. In addition, this offers a friendly but professional relationship with the children and their parents. Young children may struggle with transition when change of activity is imposed on them. They may feel disoriented, unsettled and even anxious if they cannot finish a game or fantasy play. Reich& Zaurta (2010) suggested children use different coping mechanisms to reduce their anxiety. Some showing challenging behaviour when others may carry on playing and ignore the instructions they have been given. However, in order to help these children, practitioners must understand the children’s point of view and to know children use those coping behaviour because they are unable to tolerate their emotions, therefore, practitioners should help the children to manage their emotions in order to be more cooperative with transitions.
Unplanned transition is the hardest for the children to cope with. As discussed by Stokes et al. (1999), a sensitive, responsive support needed more than ever when it was recognized that children and young people had experienced an unplanned transition such as bereavement. Whenever a child or adult is faced with traumatic life events, particularly the loss of a loved one, the ability to survive the emotional and physical pain associated with the event will be influenced by the individual’s level of personal resilience. Focusing entirely on their needs enables children to express their feelings, acknowledge their loss and develop skills to cope with their changed lives. Netmums (2013) suggested that children express their feelings of loss in different ways according to their age, their stage of emotional development, and their own individual personalities. However, Bowen& Strickler (2004), explained it is important to understand that bereavement is not the wound they can put a plaster on and send the person away. It is never easy to break the news of a death to a child, however, if the child isn’t told, he or she may be left confused, possibly imagining things worse than the reality. It is therefore important that parents, practitioners or someone known to and trusted by the child, tells him or her of the death soon after it has occurred, use simple, factual words or phrases such as ‘dead’ or ‘has died’ to avoid confusion in the child’s mind. Phrases such as: ‘going to heaven’, ‘slipped away’ or ‘God has taken him’ can be frightening or misleading. (South Whitehaven. 2013), suggested the best way to support the child is to allow them tell their story without interruption, spend some time with others who have a shared experience and offer them support to move forward and enable them to treasure their memories of the ones they love.
The birth of a sibling is thought to be a source of stress for young children whose security may be threatened by disruptions to normal family life. Separation from the mother during childbirth or day care arrangements may be one source of stress for young children and may influence their behaviour and relationship towards their peers in the setting. Moreover, children’s reactions to a new sibling is likely to depend upon how parents might support their children through these changes however, there is no clear data on how supportive parenting may help a young child cope with the arrival of a new baby (Field & Reite 1984, cited in Gottlieb& Mendelson 1990). According to Bowlby (1969) cited in Bretherton (1992). The primary caregiver acts as an example for future relationships. He believed both mother and the child need to stay in contact with each other to create the strong bond. One of the major beliefs of safekeeping theory is that infants and young children need to develop a secure dependence on parents before launching out into unfamiliar situations. This brings the argument that, transition can be traumatic for parents too, as attachment between mother and the child could be interrupted. Practitioners usually have not given much thought about how hard a transition may be for the parents and their preparation focuses mainly on supporting children during their transitions while, first time parents are still negotiating the developmental transition of becoming a new parent, now they have to incorporate in to the task of separating from the baby.
Parents may worry, wonder and may ask themselves questions such as: will my baby be ok? Will my baby well cared for? Will my baby still love me and can I trust these people to care for my baby? Therefore, it is up to the practitioners how to reassure the new parents. Strategies such as creating an open –door policy where parents are welcome to walk in to check on their children as they wish, establish transition plan, gives parents and staff time to begin building relationships and allows parents to observe and ask their questions (Merrill 2010). As mentioned above, although the practitioner’s work place’ do not have a transition or settling in policy in place, nursery staff provide an information booklet including a set of information about the nursery, necessary forms to be filled by the parents including consent forms for taking photos and administering medication where necessary, home- school agreement etc. This information is presented to new parents at the beginning of the year during the home visit.
Also staffs provide tan open day to new parents to attend with their children; this will allow children to overcome their fear while they get familiar with the new environment. In conclusion, the nursery is not only a place of learning educational skills; it is an environment where children learn how to cope with transition which will later help them adapt to the changes in their adult life. A practitioner not only is responsible to the child and his/her transition, transition is equally difficult for the parent and it is the responsibility of practitioners to be supportive and to reassure parents that their children are in safe hands and that their needs are met. It is important that the practitioner appreciates that each child may deal with their emotions differently and treats every child equally but tailored to their individual needs.
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Merrill S. (2010). It’s a transition for parents too. Available: http://www.naeyc.org/fils/201009/rocking and rolling on line0910.pdf. Last accessed 01/03/2013. Netmums (2013). Helping Children Cope with Bereavement. Available: http://www.netmums.com/support/miscarriage-and-loss/loss-of-a-child/helping-children-cope-with-bereavement. Last accessed 27/02/2013 O’Connor, A. (2012). Understanding transitions in the early years: Supporting change through attachment and resilience. Abingdon: Routledge.
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