Transition from launch to vacation

By Sarit Levy, Organizational Vision Instructor, Eliya

Throughout the year our children spend many hours each day in the kindergarten classrooms and are part of an educational framework that provides a feeling of routine and stability. This in turn gives them the feeling of security, permanence and growth, enhancing their development. Now the holiday period is before us, and it is important for parents to understand how to handle the changes this will involve until the children return to their kindergarten framework.

Many of our children experience difficulties in the transition between holidays and routine and vice versa. This can cause irritability, uncomfortable situations, and difficulties in adjusting. Sometimes parents express– anxieties when they realise that they will have to spend a long and undefined time alone with their child. The sensitive child will feel his parent’s anxiety/stress, and this might lead to a negative or problematic reaction. It is important to take a deep breath and to consider this period as an opportunity to connect more intimately with your child, to create shared experiences and memories, an opportunity to strengthen the child’s connection with other siblings, and to bring in new experiences while playing together as a family. In order to turn this period into an enjoyable and meaningful experience for the entire family, it is crucial to be prepared oneself in advance.

We must always keep in mind that the ability to see influences every stage of our development. When working with visually impaired children, the key to learning is not simply to tell them about the world that surrounds them, but to simulate situations and experiences that will allow the children to independently reach an understanding of their surroundings. Vacation time can provide many such opportunities.

We suggest that both parents and teachers should be prepared well in advance, defining realistic expectations for the transition between daily routine to vacation time. To facilitate the move from one stage to the other, it is important to explain to the child in advance (according to the child’s individual developmental stage) the changes that will be taking place.

During vacation time, it is a good idea to divide daily activities into two distinct stages – mornings and afternoons. This will prevent the days from seeming “never-ending” and will create a more relaxed atmosphere for both the children and their parents. Plan to do just two main activities each day, which can include tactile games using playdough, sand or other kinetic material, soap bubbles, arts and crafts, a walk in the park or garden with friends or other family members. By scheduling just two activities each day, you will avoid overloading or creating too much pressure on the child. You can find suggested activities in the booklet “The Development of Suitable Games for Young Children with Vision Impairment or Blindness” via the following link:  https://bit.ly/2KEcs7H

It is advisable to prepare the activities you have planned in advance and to share these preparations with the child, as appropriate, using vision, hearing, touch, or movement. You might also engage the child in discussing which of the activities among those you have chosen is his favourite onei. Such pre-planning will help you to maintain a structured framework. A clear routine of activities will make daily life easier and provide a sense of security for your child.   

Before setting out on a family excursion, spend some time thinking about and planning for the specific location you have chosen to visit.  (For a young child, for example, you might take a large washtub when going to the beach.) The other senses should also be taken into account – taste, smell and hearing. Remember also to be well prepared for any long journeys in the car.  It is a good idea to take a bag filled with toys and to have music and recorded stories to keep the child relaxed and happy.

It is always a good idea for the parents and the child to keep a “diary” of all the activities they shared during the holiday. This will help the child remember the activities and will also be something to take back to the daily routine of the kindergarten. The “diary” can be filled with stories of special moments or trips taken, or can simply include something like a flower discovered on the way. Make sure to write together with your child what you did as a family, where you went, who you met, and what it felt like afterwards. It is a good idea to also add a memento such as a balloon from a birthday party, a photograph, a leaf or flower. This “diary” will be given to the kindergarten teacher and will be used to ease your child’s transition back into the daily schedule.

Just as the child was prepared for the move from daily routine to vacation time, parents are advised to spend time preparing the child for the return to the kindergarten, especially in the case of children who will be moving to a new class or even a new location with new kindergarten teachers. Transitions can be challenging, but they also present opportunities for learning and growth.

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