The Mindful Adult: Supporting Transitions

The Mindful Adult: Supporting Transitions Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten
01 Dec 2016

At our last Friday team meeting, Helen shared an observation that got us all thinking and reflecting on the last couple of weeks. In the House, we have various resources for children to access freely. Most days, but certainly not all, there has been quite a lot of these resources out; wooden blocks, scarves, play dishes, art materials, etc. Helen noticed that once we come in to the House, some children might rush to the art trolley or the block building area, grab at various materials and use them in a rather frantic way.

We all agreed that we had also noticed this reaction to coming indoors. We wondered, how can we make the transition from outdoors to indoors easier for everyone and less frantic? What could we do differently to slow the transition, to make it so that children can settle into a play space indoors?

Helen and I were privileged to take an inspiring trip to Los Angeles where we visited Nancy Gell at Oak Glen Nursery School, Tim Craig at Children’s Circle Nursery School, and Deborah Carlisle-Solomon, Helen’s RIE Mentor. For three intensive weeks, we observed, explored, and absorbed as much as we could of the unending knowledge and skill Deborah, Nancy and Tim have in Early Childhood. At both Oak Glen and Children’s Circle, ‘meeting time’ and ‘group meeting time’ are used effectively to slow a transition down, to engage the children in reflecting on their day, and to be truly present with the children. Bringing this idea to Helen’s observation was completely natural. Rather than rushing to get indoors, we want to slow the transition and give the children time with the adults.

This concept is something we have discussed and have put into action at Kindergarten; the adults supporting those needing help with outdoor gear, slowing right down and coming together to talk about our morning together. Led by an adult, we go onto the decking to sit together and talk about what we’ve been up to that morning. Nancy says to the children at Oak Glen, “So, what’s cookin’?” I really enjoy the sense of community this opportunity to come together brings.

In our Group Meeting Time at Kindergarten, some of the children talk about their morning and what they would like to do at the weekend with their families. This time together gives us a wonderful insight, and most importantly gives the children the truly present and mindful adult they need to help carry them through the transition.



You can find information about RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers), Janet Lansbury and Hand in Hand Parenting here:

Resources for Infant Educarers

Deborah Carlisle Solomon

Janet Lansbury

Hand in Hand Parenting


Hannah is Co-owner of Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten and manages the business operations. Hannah’s career began in science where she specialised in paediatrics. Her interest in Early Years Education is borne from a passion for research, with a particular focus on the birth to five age range. One of Hannah’s favourite things about Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten is seeing the extraordinary development of children in such a rich natural environment. She has a passion for progressive and alternative education. Hannah believes the outdoors offers the ideal environment to foster a life-long love of learning in children. In her spare time Hannah enjoys walks in the woods.

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