Separation stress of nursery school infants and toddlers graduating to new classes

Tiffany M. Field, Nitza Vega-Lahr, Shashikala Jagadish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The play behaviors and sleep patterns of 12 infants (15 months) and 20 toddlers (24 months) were observed during the first and fourth week of the month preceding and following their graduation to new nursery classes. Observations were made and activity level was monitored during free play, sleep state changes were recorded during naptime and parents completed questionnaires on behavioral, sleep, eating, toileting, and illness changes during this transition. As compared to baseline, observations during the week preceding graduation and the week following graduation to a new class revealed greater amounts of fussing, verbal interaction, physical contact (both affectionate and aggressive), wandering, and fantasy play. Activity level was elevated and absenteeism more frequent. Latency to sleep was longer, more crying occurred preparatory to sleep and a lesser percentage of nap time was spent sleeping. The infants as compared to the toddlers were less agitated just prior to graduation, but more agitated during the first week in their new class. Those infants/toddlers who moved to a new class with a close friend appeared to be less affected by the transfer than those who did not move with a close friend.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1984


  • affect activity
  • nursery school
  • separation stress
  • sleep
  • toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Separation stress of nursery school infants and toddlers graduating to new classes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this