Transition Times and Relationship Rituals

A black man with glasses and a beard holds, embraces, and nuzzles the cheek of a smiling toddler with curly hair

Transitions, by definition, require a whole lot of change! The rhythm of our yearly calendar places our biggest poing of transition to the start of our Fall Program, where many of our children move to new rooms next door, down the hall, or across the building, or onto a new building entirely! We all thrive on consistent and predictable routines; transitions by nature require time and familiarity to create security. We incorporate Relationship Rituals and Transition Times activities into our days intentionally, and we families to explore special rituals you create with your child for drop off and pick up. Click for more on transitions, rituals, and routines

A black man with glasses and a beard holds, embraces, and nuzzles the cheek of a smiling toddler with curly hair

Our program-wide preparations for transitions each year include environmental planning for intentional play-based learning experiences, which are guided by the research-based best practice that optimal learning happens in the context of relationships. Outside of the parent-child and teacher-child relationships, a child’s engagement with the environment around them is in itself a relationship that supports learning. We model being in relationship with our environment as something we respect and care for.

Singing, moving and music is also a favorite Transition Time activity and Relationship Ritual during the day at Treehouse Learning. We intentionally incorporate singing and whole-body movement in a variety of ways. We begin our days with Big Circle where we greet each other singing the Treehouse Family Song, and we also use songs to cue transition times or express gratitude, such as mealtime or clean-up time. Music, dance, and movement are particularly effective as relationship routines because these experiences are so readily experienced through playing.

Playtime Rituals to transition home:

We know folks are tired when you arrive home at the end of a long day, with necessary transitions to mealtime and bedtime ahead, so we aim to provide support to one another in ways that are meaningful and realistic. Especially when we feel consumed by perpetual needs in our home and families, playing with our children may feel like the last thing we have time for! Yet, even 10 minutes of whole-body, child directed play as a “coming home together” ritual has huge impacts:

  • Regulates nervous system & integrates brain (adult + child)
  • Facilitates co-regulation between adult and child
  • Wires children’s brains for safe, secure connection- the building blocks of resiliency and thriving
  • Builds gross and fine motor skills, stimulates core strength & hand/eye coordination, body awareness etc. 
  • Interactions support language and cognitive development; learning opportunities within relationships
  • Fills up our emotional love tanks/buckets & strengthens relationships
  • Unlimited potential for fun 

Our Big Room is often set up with some ideas for adult-child play, and other ideas are blocks/magna-tiles, coloring, or shared reading. The lap matters far more than the book! We also have 2 mirrors hung at just the right level for a child to see themselves. As you begin and end your day, we encourage you and your child to greet the humans in the mirror by name and share a smile, a waive, blow a kiss, or a high-five.

We’d love to hear some of your playtime connect rituals to transition home with your children, as well as some of your favorite Relationship Rituals or Transition Time activities throughout your day. Share yours in the comments!

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