Transitions and Change
We all cope with transitions and change in our own ways. Some of us are very flexible, while others prefer routine. We even differ in our ability to cope with change at different times of our life, even different times of the day. In my home, for example, we are set in our way when it comes to breakfast. My husband has eaten the same brand of cereal for longer than I have known him, and that’s about 37 years! He even eats his breakfast in the same order each day – orange juice, cereal with milk, followed by two mugs of black tea, with milk added after the tea! For me, breakfast is the quiet time of my day. I prefer to read the newspaper rather than talk. However, dinner is looser ~ more choice, and eaten any time between about 6:00 and 10:00, with lots of talk.
One thing I have noticed at our school is that sometimes the thought of change is worse than the actual change. When the change occurs, we all settle down and make the best of it. It’s a little like waiting at an airport, and dreading the moment when you have to say goodbye. That’s the worst part. Once you’ve said the goodbyes and given the hugs, and gone though the security check, you are busy with finding your gate and preparing for your journey.
That’s how I feel about the two women who have recently begun their maternity leave. I miss you every day, but I am also excited for you, for the joys and challenges you will face in the next part of your journey through life. Now one of you is already a Mom, and the other will deliver her baby girl within the next few weeks. How exciting! That is change in action!
But what of the children? Preparing and learning to cope and make the best of change is a life skill I hope all of our students will learn. We prepare them for change, acknowledge and talk about it. We support them through the changes. We also prepare our new staff, whenever possible, by allowing a long overlap with the staff member who is leaving. The new staff member has time to observe, job shadow, ask questions, learn the routine, get familiar and comfortable with the environment, the routine and the children and parents. This is a gift that the staff member who is leaving gives to the new staff member.
I also would like to give a big shout out to the Montessori environment and routine. When all else changes, the environment and the routine remain the same. This similarity also supports children who move from one area to another, and from one Montessori school to another. In most cases, the similarities outweigh the differences.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge our parents. This year I have been so impressed with our parents’ planning for change within their own routines, and their coordinating with the school to make changes such as going from a half day to an all day schedule as gradual and easy as possible.
Soon, we will be preparing students (and their parents!) for transitions from one environment to the next ~ from our toddler program to the 3 – 6 environment, and from the 3 – 6 environment to our elementary program, and from Montessori into the local public school and riding the school bus . . . You can help yourself, as a parent, to prepare for change by observing the new environment, and meeting, if possible, your child’s new teachers.