Change is a chance for a unique learning experience. Adults can use change, such as moving house or changing schools, to initiate important conversations about change.
Framing the discussion that shows your child that you are apprehensive can show your child that adults have emotional reactions to change, but manage them by talking about them.
‘Make choices, accept challenges, take considered risks, manage change and cope with frustrations and the unexpected…’
Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing
Belonging, Being and Becoming; The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia page 31
While our natural reaction is to protect children in moments of change, being open and honest with children can build a profound connection and help children understand change.
There may come a time due to employment or other changes that your child may have to change schools. This can be a highly stressful time for children. We recommend that parents and teachers allow children to embrace the change. Celebrating if a child is leaving can allow for the children to say goodbye and share their memories they have made. By making the change a gradual, happy farewell we can enhance how a child feels about the change. By celebrating their achievements teachers are acknowledging their development and reinforcing that their experiences will help them at the new school.
How can you help children understand change?
Calendars: place large calendars around the room with visual cues about the changing seasons, events (such as birthdays) visible to the group.
Communication with parents is vital. Go where the parents are- social media is your friend to communicate with parents events or changes to routine. Giving parents the heads up about changes to staff or new resources or programs with guidance about how parents can spark conversations with children to help them prepare for the change will help create strong partnerships and help children embrace change. Routines are very important to children and parents. If there are changes in daily, weekly or monthly plans, communicating these early will help parents.
Embracing change is about resilience; it is often said that helping develop resilient children is paramount to learning. But what is resilience and what does it look like?
Trying new things; whether that is food, games, activities, learning groups, children will build close connections with their routines, but resilience comes when they are confident enough to change.
Resilience is also connected with failure. Communicating with parents that children will and do fail, that every child learns at a different pace and in different ways is one step towards understanding resilience. The confidence to try and fail, yet learn from the failure is imperative to building resilience. Some questions educators and teachers can suggest to parents (and use themselves):
What did you learn?
What would you do again?
What wouldn’t you do again?