Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 2: Program Activities for Healthy Development

2.1 Program of Developmental Activities

2.1.1 General Program Activities Transitioning within Programs and Indoor and Outdoor Learning/Play Environments

Caregivers/teachers should take into consideration the individual needs of children when transitioning them to a new indoor and outdoor learning/play environment. The transitioning child/children should be offered the opportunity to visit the new space with a familiar caregiver/teacher with enough time to allow them to display comfort in the new space. The program should allow time for communication with the families regarding the process and for each child to follow through a comfortable time line of adaptation to the new indoor and outdoor learning/play environment, caregiver/teachers, and peers.

Children need time to manipulate, explore and familiarize themselves with the new space and caregivers/teachers. This should be done before they are part of a new group to allow them time to explore to their personal satisfaction. Eating is a primary reinforcer and need. The opportunity to share food within the new space will help reassure a child and help adults assess how the transition is going. Toileting involves another level of trust. Diapering/toileting should be introduced in the new space with a familiar teacher.

New routines should be introduced by the new staff with a familiar caregiver/teacher present to support the child/children. Transitions to the indoor and outdoor learning/play environment, especially if the space is different than the one from which they are familiar, should follow similar procedures as moving to another indoor space. Parents/guardians should be part of the transition as they too are in the process of learning to trust a new indoor and outdoor learning/play environment for their child. Primary needs need to be met to support a smooth transition.

Transitions should be planned in advance, based on the child’s readiness. A written plan should be developed and shared with parents/guardians, describing how and when the transition will occur. Children should not be moved to a new indoor and outdoor learning/play environment for the sole purpose of maintaining child: staff ratios.

Supporting the achievement of developmental tasks for young children is essential for their social and emotional health. Establishing trust with caregivers/teachers and successful adaptation to a new indoor and outdoor learning/play environment is a critical component of quality care. Young children need predictability and routine. They need to feel secure and to understand the expectations of their environment. By taking time to allow them to familiarize themselves with their new caregivers/teachers and environment, they are better able to handle the emotional, cognitive, and social requirements of their new space (1-5).
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Toilet Learning/Training
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  2. Gorski, P. A., S. P. Berger. 2005. Emotional health in child care. In Health in child care: A manual for health professionals, ed. J. R. Murph, S. D. Palmer, D. Glassy, 173-86. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  3. Lally, R. L., L. Y. Torres, P. C. Phelps. 1994. Caring for infants and toddlers in groups: Necessary considerations for emotional, social, and cognitive development. Zero to Three 14:1-8.
  4. Mahler, M., F. Pine, A. Bergman. 1975. The Psychological birth of the human infant. New York: Basic Books.
  5. Maslow, A. 1943. A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review 50:370-96