September is a time when many children head back to school. Here’s a great song to start off the school year with your preschool or kindergarten class.

This is an original song, therefore, remember to mention S. J. Little anytime you write down or record this song.

We Get To Go To School

Song by: S. J. Little

Tune similar to: If You’re Happy and You Know It

 

We get to go to school, hip, hip, hooray! Hooray

We get to go to school, hip, hip, hooray! Hooray

We get to go to school and that is very cool.

We get to go to school, hip, hip, hooray! Hooray

 

To help you out, here is a quick audio recording of the song.

Other verses:

We can make friends at school, hip, hip, hooray!

Alternatively, consider using this song as your welcome-to-school hello song. To do so, change up the words to say, “It’s time to go to school, hip, hip, hooray!”

 

I hope you enjoy this song and I wish you all the best as you start the new school year. Don’t forget to smile and have fun.

 

What is a Transition?

In the preschool and childcare world, a transition is any time children are switching between activities. This could include moving from the classroom to a gym space or the bathroom. It could also include changing from free play to circle time or snack time. Arrival and departure times are transitions as well.

These parts of the schedule are often difficult for young children because they have to leave something they are enjoying (such as free play) or they have to wait. Waiting is hard. It is a skill for young children to learn.

So how can we make transitions smoother? Check out the tips below.

1. Give a Warning

Two minutes before you need to transition, briefly get everyone’s attention to let them know that they have only two minutes left in the current activity.

Typically this can be done for the group as a whole, but some children need to be individually told. Get down on their level, touch their hand. Make sure they’re listening when you tell them.

2. Explain What’s Next

Children don’t want to leave the fun thing they are doing, therefore, give them something to look forward to. Briefly tell them what’s next. If the next activity is not one they enjoy, mention the following thing as well. For example, “First we will go to the bathroom, then it’s gym time.”

3. Praise Good Behaviour

What can we adults do to help transitions go smoother? Do you see a child doing what you want? Let them know with a quick high five and a “Good job.”

At times we get so caught up redirecting undesired behaviour that we forget to praise the good behaviour. Not only does this lead to the children not knowing what you want them to be doing, but it also can result in even more undesired behaviour. Why? Because children need attention. When they aren’t getting attention for good behaviour, they begin to mimic the undesired behaviour because that is what gets them the attention they crave.

Sometimes, though not always, ignoring undesired behaviour while praising desired behaviour can work wonders in making transitions smoother.

4. Sing a Transition Song

Preschool age children tend to respond well to songs. Using a song to let them know it is time to transition rather than simply telling them is a long standing strategy that works.

The classic example of this is the Cleanup Song.

Other transition specific songs can include:

  • Line up songs
  • Stand up songs
  • Sit down songs

5. Sing General Preschool Songs

If your transition includes waiting or lining up and walking to a different room, singing regular preschool songs can be a huge help in keeping the children focused and in line.

These songs could include:

6. Assign a Job

Some children respond well to responsibility. It makes them feel important. Therefore, give them a task to do.

When walking in a line-up, tasks could include:

  • Leader of the line
  • Caboose of the line (their job is to make sure no one gets left behind)
  • Hold a younger child’s hand
  • Carry something for you

When cleaning up, tasks could include:

  • Look around for any pieces of toy food that need to go back to the kitchen
  • Hold the bucket so the other children can put toys in
  • Clean up a certain area of the room

7. Play a Game

When waiting, simple games can help everyone have a better day, even the teachers. Some of these can be done while walking as well.

Try one of these games:

  • I spy
  • Find the Body Parts (pat your head, etc.)
  • Pretend to be… (can you walk like a giraffe?)
  • Stretch (copy me while I touch my toes)

8. Smile

As you are transitioning, don’t forget to smile. If you are uptight and irritable, the children will sense it. If you are smiling, everyone will enjoy the experience better.

I hope these eight tips help make your transitions smoother. What are your favourite transition strategies for preschoolers, toddlers, or other young children?

Need more help with clean-up time? Check out the article: 3 Clean-up Strategies for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Child sleeping behind title: 3 Super Simple Lullabies

 

Do you like to sing to your child as you put them to bed? Want some new songs to try? Looking for a transition song to sing just before nap time? Then you’re in the right place.

Below are three original super simple lullabies for you and your children to learn.

Since these are original words, please include my name with them.

Time to Sleep

Words by: S. J. Little

Tune: Kum Ba Yah

 

Time to sleep, my child, time to sleep.

Time to sleep, my child, time to sleep.

Time to sleep, my child, time to sleep.

Hush now, time to sleep.

 

If you want to change up this simple lullaby, try singing “go to sleep”, “you can sleep”, or “let’s all sleep” instead of “time to sleep”.

Hush Hush

Words by: S. J. Little

Tune: Row Row Row Your Boat

 

Hush, hush, hush, it’s time,

Close your eyes and dream,

Quietly, quietly, quietly, quietly,

Snuggle down for sleep.

Count Slow

Words by: S. J. Little

Tune: Are You Sleeping

 

Time for sleeping, time for sleeping,

Close your eyes, close your eyes.

Lie still and count slow, lie still and count slow.

One, two, three; four, five, six.

 

Se-ven ei-ght; ni-ne t-en,

Eleven twelve; thirteen fourteen,

Fifteen sixteen seventeen; eighteen nineteen twenty.

Hush now sleep. Hush now sleep.

What’s your favourite lullaby to sing?

 

Are you teaching about community helpers, such as mechanics, or is your theme transportation? Is your child simply excited about cars? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you’ll want to check out the preschool fingerplay below.

The Three Little Blue Cars fingerplay promotes learning to count to three, problem-solving, and builds vocabulary.

Three Little Blue Cars

Original words by S. J. Little

Tune/rhythm: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

 

Three little blue cars driving down the road,

One popped a tire and could not go.

“Oh no!” said the driver. “What shall we do?”

“Call the mechanic to make you good as new.”

 

Two little blue cars driving down the road,

One hit a big tree and crushed his bumper.

“Oh no!” said the driver. “What shall we do?”

“Call the mechanic to make you good as new.”

 

One little blue car driving down the road,

He blew his engine and smoke billowed out.

“Oh no!” said the driver. “What shall we do?”

“Call the mechanic to make you good as new.”

This fingerplay lends itself well to visuals. Therefore, I put together a free printout for you. I recommend either printing it on blue paper or colouring the cars blue after you have printed them out.

Three Blue Cars Visual – Free Download

 

Have fun sharing this fingerplay with your little one!

Interested in more preschool transportation songs?

Take a look at the 9-1-1 Song, and the Taxi Song.

A child and many toys behind the title: 3 Cleanup Strategies

 

Do you have young children? Have you ever struggled to get them to help clean up? If so, you are certainly not alone. First off, children must learn the skill of cleaning up as most of us are not born with it. Secondly, it can be challenging to motivate a child to clean up, especially when they want to keep playing.

To help you out, I’ve collected three cleanup strategies for toddlers and preschoolers as well as a handy list of tips.

3 Cleanup Strategies

  1. Sing a Cleanup Song

  • Using a cleanup song can be a great strategy for helping young children know it is time to switch gears from playing to cleaning up. There are many different cleanup songs you can find online. Feel free to spend some time searching for one you like.
  • Here is a classic cleanup song you may already be familiar with. As far as I can tell, this song originally came from the Barney TV show. The words are simple and you can sing it as many times as needed.
    • Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere,
    • Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.

  2. “Who Can Clean Up the Fastest?” Game

  • Some children are competitive. This can be used to your advantage. Try making cleanup time a competition. The competition could be:
    • Between two children: “Sam, you clean this side of the room, and, Jane, you clean that side and let’s see who can get their side cleaned up first.”
    • Between a child and yourself: “Let’s see if you can clean up the cars before I finish cleaning up the paints.”
    • Between a child and a timer: “I’m going to start the five minute timer. See if you can clean up this whole room before it goes off.”
    • Between the child and themselves (for older children): “Last time you cleaned up all the blocks in 1.45 minutes. Let’s see if you can do it faster this time.”
  • Here is a visual five minute clean up timer you could try using:

  3. Find and Clean Game – I Spy

  • Here’s another cleanup game you could try. This game may be especially effective for those last few toys that still have not been picked up.
  • Invite your child to join you and tell them you have a challenge for them. Be direct and specific. “Tommy, I spy a blue car that needs to go in the white bin. Can you find it?” “Mary, I spy a purple doll dress hiding under the cupboard. See if you can figure out where it belongs.”
  • Praise each child when they find the item you named and have put it in the correct place.
  • For more advanced children, consider naming multiple items. “George, I spy seven triangle blocks that need putting away. Can you find them all?”

Tips for using Cleanup Strategies

  • Follow through
    • With all the tips I am about to share, it is important that you follow through. If you don’t do what you say you will do, your child may be tricked the first time or two, but it won’t take long for them to stop taking you seriously and soon it will be nearly impossible to get them to help clean up. They will ignore what you say, since past experience tells them that you don’t mean what you say, and they’ll keep right on playing.
  • Give a warning
    • Give your child a heads up at least two minutes before it is time to clean up. You could even set a two minute timer and explain that when the timer beeps, that means it is time to clean up the toys.
  • Explain what’s next
    • One of the biggest hesitations of children, when it comes to cleanup time, is not wanting to clean up because playing with toys is fun, and they don’t know if the next thing will be fun. Therefore, explain to your child what they will be doing next. When you give the two minute warning, it is a good time to briefly mention what’s next. “Two more minutes to play and then it’s snack time.”
    • You don’t have to be super specific.
    • If the next thing is something they don’t like. Try mentioning the next two things they will be doing. “Next we will go for a diaper change, and then we can play outside.”
  • Give plenty of time
    • Young children are not very fast at cleaning up, especially when it is a new skill they are just beginning to learn. If you want your child to be involved in helping clean up, be sure to give you and your child enough time to get everything cleaned up without being frantic and rushed.
    • Afraid you will be done cleaning up too early? Find a few engaging books or learn some fun and simple preschool songs to sing with your child while you wait. Here are a few of my songs that are great for helping smooth over those waiting transition times.
  • Be specific (which areas of the room need cleaning)
    • Remember that your child is still learning how to clean up. It will take time and teaching for them to learn which things go where. Therefore, be patient. Take the time to explain how you want things put away. You may have to explain several times.
  • Lead by example
    • Young children learn best by watching your example. Do you want your child to be cleaning up? Then get down on their level and help them do the cleaning. (As an added bonus, cleanup time goes a lot faster when there is an adult helping!)

Well, there you have it. Three cleanup strategies for you and your toddlers or preschoolers. I hope these are helpful as you go about your day. Don’t forget to smile and enjoy the time you get with your youngsters. Cleaning up is more fun when you’re smiling.

Looking for more classroom management tips? Check out the following links: