Language Play: Transitions in the Summer

The Bridge to Summer

Don’t assume that kids know that camp is fun. You may have to explain what people will be doing at camp so they can be excited about their experience. If they have trouble talking about their feelings, give them two choices to express themselves (“Are you feeling excited or worried?”) and listen well.

None of us are great with change. The beginning of summer is a transition time for our kids and it helps to acknowledge that moving from the routines of the fall, winter, and spring to summer is a time of change. Going on trips, visiting relatives, going to camp or taking swimming lessons are very different from school.

To really understand how our kids may feel, I immediately think of one of my students. She has trouble with even small changes: moving from one room to another in the school. She is an extreme, but clear example of how many children feel about change, without necessarily being able to express it. Change for her means the feeling of losing control and fear of not being able to cope with what’s next; and that is not okay for her or anyone. This past year, I often saw her lie down on the various floors of school complaining that some part of her body hurt, and that she couldn’t move. Many adults had to coax and escort her from place to place. At the beginning of the year, when she came to me, she refused to go back to her class, so I had to deliver her language services in a corner of her classroom most of the year. When I had to evaluate her language skills later in the school year, I took her out to my room and figured out a way to get her to go back to class. We would use a fun app and show it to her teacher when we got back. This made me think about all transitions a bit differently.

When we are happy and secure about what is happening, we don’t want it to end. Going back to class and showing something she liked from her speech session acted as a bridge and a way to prolong the activity she liked into a new setting. We all need to understand our future activities and have something good to look forward to in them, and we all need to have choices. Maybe only two choices, but some sense of a choice. A good teacher uses bridging at school by asking kids to share their favorite things from home during meeting time and sending school projects home so parents can ask their children what they are doing that’s fun at school…

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