In the Classroom: The Caterpillars
written by Assistant Teacher Latosha Green
What's happening in the Caterpillars? Change!
Well, it’s transition time throughout the Center and there happens to be many changes in the Caterpillar room. The older Caterpillars are moving up, new Caterpillars are coming in and we have some coming back from vacation.
Also, I am in a transition myself and am new to the Caterpillars. Previously, I worked in the Fireflies pre-school classroom for two years.
The transition from 3-4 year olds to infants and toddlers has its challenges. I come from a classroom where the kids can communicate their wants and needs, to an age group that is not as verbal, which requires me to focus on how babies communicate.
I am working hard, with my team’s support, to learn all about the Caterpillars, each child's temperament, and how to best tend to their individual needs.
Along with the challenges there are rewards. I am delighted to have learned so much about the Caterpillars in such a short period of time. I have connected with many children and have already formed strong attachments. For other children, some bonds will take a little longer, as infants love consistency and need to build trust with a new adult.
Transitions can be hard on infant/toddlers, as well as their parents, but we are work diligently to make their transitions go smoothly. Here are a few of the things that we do in the Caterpillar Room.
First we are generous with SNUGGLE TIME!!! We love opportunities to give our caterpillars some extra snuggle time when needed.
Second, we introduce transitions slowly. We encourage new caterpillars families to visit before they start so the child and family can become familiar with the classroom. For our older caterpillars moving up to a toddler room, we work as a team with their new teachers to introduce them to their new learning environment.
And third, some new Caterpillars have a bit of stranger anxiety, and we find that one-on-one time with those children meets their individual needs, and helps as they find their place in the Caterpillar family.
Here are a few tips and suggestion for parents to help children through transitions.
- Talk to your child about transitioning.
- Bring in a familiar object from home (this can be reassuring for them) .
- Bring in family photo’s (children can look at their family photo to help ease transitions) .
- Understand that all transitions take time and how long depends on the child.