Top Tips for School Transitions
The last few weeks of the summer term in school are full of excitement.
Mostly because the countdown is REAL and many of us have only a few days left until we can say goodbye to this school year and have a well-earned break!
July is also transition time and you'll be getting to know which children you're going to be working with next term.
How are you feeling about that? A little nervous? A little excited?
It's always bittersweet to say goodbye to your current cohort and prepare to welcome your new group.
For many children with speech & language needs this can be a time loaded with anxiety and uncertainty.
Here are some of my top tips to make transitions into new year groups a little easier for everyone:
1. Use pictures.
Share pictures of you and your new classroom. I know your room won't be furnished with new wall displays and it still has the current class in it, but there are things that will be the same for next term and these constants are important for our SEN kids.
Share pictures of what the door looks like, where the windows are, the clock, the board, where the Teachers desk is, etc..
Also share pictures of you and your support staff colleagues (if you have some).
This will help them to remember what you look like in the last week of the holidays when they may start to get nervous about going back to school and being in a different room with new staff.
2. Share something about you.
What is your favourite colour? Do you have any pets? What is your favourite flavour of ice cream? Who do you think is better- Spiderman or Batman?
Creating connections through shared likes, dislikes and similarities is a fantastic way of building a new relationship and some rapport with your new children.
Be sure to ask them these questions to help you remember things about them too!
3. Read their paperwork.
If some of your new class come with their own folder of reports, plans and paperwork, schedule some time in your diary to read it.
This will do you a favour when it comes to planning lessons and differentiations, organising groups and seating plans, preparing strategies and supporting those additional needs within your classroom.
You may want to take some time to get to know the child without pre-judgement but there have been a few times I've put Teachers on the naughty list in October for not reading my Summer term speech and language report on a child and not having put in place any additional support.
Miss Clark and Mrs Smith- you're on this list!
4. Check-in with parents and carers.
As a mum of a child with additional needs who is not on the school's SEN register (my daughter has ADHD and is managed with medication, distraction and patience), I have worries that her new teacher may not have experience of children, especially girls, with this condition.
I'm keen for my daughter to not get judged for being difficult or irritating in the first couple of weeks and this judgement sticking with her for the year.
These worries and concerns are present for many of us SEN parents and having the opportunity to talk to our children's new Teachers, to share information and tips on support and management systems is essential for building and maintaing positive relationships.
5. Source any support you need.
You may feel a little unsure of how to meet the needs of a particular child or be overwhelmed with all of the information in their paperwork.
Don't feel alone.
Reach out to colleagues, the school SENCo, your Teaching buddies, and ask them your questions, share your worries, discuss your plans.
Reach out to me too! I've been a Speech Therapist for a looooong time and I've got plenty of advice and support if you need it. You can email me here.
There's also my courses on a variety of topics where you can find information, tips, strategies and ideal interventions to help children with speech, language and communication needs. Click here to find a course to save your sanity.
I hope you enjoy these last few days of term and have some super transition sessions with your new cohort of children.