What is Transition?

Change is life’s only constant. Change can be something we choose or something over which we have no control. Transition is the internal process that happens from the moment we learn about the change, until the moment we have grown used to the change and all that comes with it.

The founder of SPAN, Douglas W. Ota (2014), defines transition as "moving across cultures" and brings to light the ways in which this shifts a person's spatial, relational, and interpretational reference points in his book Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it (3).

When we are referring to transitions, we are not only referring to moving from one school to another. Transitions happen from the moment we’re born until we die, and during our lifespan, we will all experience being the Arriver, Stayer and Leaver.

Transitions happen when we leave home, start a new job, change jobs, get married, have a child, possibly divorce, when we eventually retire, and sadly after the death of a loved one. This is what makes positive transitions-care so important: it is not serving us through one life event, it is serving us throughout our lives. As you are looking to enhance positive transitions-care in your schools as part of promoting wellbeing, know that you are providing your students, parents and your staff with tools that will help them manage any transition in life.

When looking at international schools, a successful transitions-care programme is one which helps all members of the community moving within and between schools to maintain their attachment systems so that they can reap the benefits of a globally mobile life.

(3) Ota, D.W. (2014). Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it. Great Britain: Summertime Publishing.

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