As we head into the holiday break, I find myself reflecting on the transition that is forth coming. Students will transition from five days at school per week to two weeks at home with family, friends and engaging in activities they enjoy…maybe even enjoy more than school! Teachers move from teaching and learning to enjoying and celebrating. Holidays from work may occur for parents, travel may be on the list of things to do and families may gather together. Calendars can be a wonderful visual support to assist all of us with these transitions and changes in routines.
Calendars as a countdown tool
This is a calendar that we have in use in my house. It’s a countdown to all the events that centre around the celebrations we participate in during the holidays. As you can see, this was started in November due to the persistent questions that surfaced once Halloween was put away and Christmas started to be seen in retail stores. This simple, hand-drawn calendar has helped answer the never-ending repetition of questions about how many more sleeps or when is this event happening. Each time my son asks about an event, I direct him to check the calendar and we count together for how many days left before it occurs. Before bed time he chooses a holiday sticker to mark that the day has ended.
Calendars to know what is going to happen
This calendar provides a week at a glance of school days, home days and special activity days. On Sunday mornings my son and I set out his schedule for the week. I pull out the photos and he puts them on the calendar in the correct order. At dinner time each day it is his job to remove what happened that day so he can see the passage of time. This calendar will help prepare him (and probably me) for the pending transition back to school after the holidays.
Calendars and schedules in classrooms
In classrooms throughout Simcoe County versions of these calendars can be found. Here is an example of a daily schedule for students in a kindergarten class. The red marker moves along to show the students what they are currently working on and what is coming up next. This keeps the students (and educators) on task 🙂
If you are going to use a calendar to support transitions, remember that they do not have to be elaborate with photos or computer generated pictures to be helpful. In order to be useful, they need to have a clear purpose (e.g. countdown to holiday events, what happens each day, daily schedule) and to be referred to frequently.
Speaking of transitions, I will be having a transition of jobs in the new year. I am leaving the position of Area Special Education Consultant and will be focusing on conducting an inquiry about special education in Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten classrooms. I have put on my calendar to share the details on my new position in the new year.
All the best and have a wonderful holiday break.