Skip to main content


“Very helpful with keeping me informed, as I work and don’t bring my child myself”
Mrs R


Sensitivity, awareness, and resources such as diaries and photos are essential tools practitioners can use in transitions.

For a successful transition, children need practitioners who: 

Give them time to become familiar with the idea of moving on, to talk about it, to reflect on what they already know and have learned, to absorb new information, to revisit and remember what went before, to adjust to the changes and to make mistakes without fear of judgement.  They know that children need to be allowed time for regression as much as consolidation.

Recognise the importance of attachment and emotional well-being and are able to recognise the needs of an individual child and their family in this respect.  They know that children need to be sure of their unconditional care regardless of whether the child and their family conform to the expected norms.

Offer pro-active support, particularly to those who may appear to be coping, and don’t wait for a crisis to occur before they respond.  Children need practitioners who know that there is often a ‘honeymoon’ period for children settling in, and that some children will have less obvious ways of showing distress.

Show respect for a child’s way of making it work for themselves, by listening to the child and their carers about how they want to handle the separation from each other and adapting settling procedures to make the most of this.  They know that children often need transitional objects or particular routines and habits to comfort themselves until ready to go it alone.

Appreciate what the child brings with them and has learned at home or in a previous setting.  They know that this is important for the child’s self-esteem as much as to set starting points for future learning, and they are not judgemental or obsessed with ‘correctness’, particularly with regard to physical or self-help skills.  They actively seek to make and maintain strong links with home and other settings that the child has attended.

Plan carefully for transition, making sure they gather, read and take notice of all the information passed to them by parents and previous settings.  They know that some children will be more vulnerable than others at this time and plan accordingly.

Are creative in their approach to supporting transition.

Transitions, therefore, carry a big responsibility for early years practitioners.  However, if our approach to transition is firmly rooted throughout our practice (rather than something we worry about just before and after change occurs), then we are more likely to be raising emotionally intelligent children who make strong attachments, and are resilient and resourceful when faced with change and are able to take risks and embrace new experiences.

(Adapted from The Early Years Foundation Stage – All About … transitions, DFES, 2007)