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Foster a culture of care and wellbeing in your international school or organizational community by embracing the principles of positive transitions-care. Elevate your skills, deepen your understanding, and gain practical insights through the deconstruction and implementation of the Six Laws of Transitions, developed by SPAN Founder, Drs. Douglas W. Ota.

Upcoming Course Dates: September 23 - November 24, 2024 (mid-session break October 21-17)


See a snippet of Doug Ota's Introduction to the Laws of Transitions Certificate Course below:

Course Introduction:

Why learn about the Six Laws of Transitions?

Unmanaged transitions across cultures and schools can negatively impact personal and educational growth. Well-managed transitions, however, have the potential to greatly enrich both personal and educational journeys. In this comprehensive online learning series, we will deconstruct each law of transitions outlined in Drs. Douglas Ota’s book, “Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it,” to guide you and your school or organization towards optimal transitions-care policies and practices.  By applying the knowledge, skills and strategies gained in this Certificate Course, you will be equipped with solid foundations for fostering a sustained culture of care and wellbeing. These foundations will empower educational and workplace professionals to excel in their roles, enable parents to navigate transitions with confidence and support students in thriving throughout their learning journey. 

Our Students:

Who takes this course?

The Laws of Transitions Certificate Course is designed for individuals, as well as school and organizational groups who are committed to nurturing positive transitions-care for their students, families and staff members. Since positive transitions-care work can be more successful in teams, discounts are provided for schools/organizations registering groups.

Course Overview:


hours of learning


hours of live sessions facilitated by SPAN Trainers



(plus one week mid-session break)


Course Roadmap

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Meet your Course Trainers

Course Facilitators:

Jane Barron (MEd) is an educational consultant specialising in student cross-cultural transitions. Her professional hats include educator, researcher and writer. Jane’s work is informed by a lifetime of mobility, parenting two Cross-Cultural Kids and 30 years of teaching and consulting in both international and local schools. Committed to healthy cross-cultural transitions and attachment security, she has been a part of the Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN) leadership since 2016 and is currently serving as their Director of Training and Consulting. Founder of Globally Grounded, Jane consults to schools, families and students crossing cultures, developing their understanding of the impact of cross-cultural mobility, creating programs and implementing support mechanisms to enhance learning and life. Currently based on Garigal land in Sydney, Australia, she is the lead researcher of Surveying the Landscape: Common Practices, Challenges and Opportunities in International School Transitions-Care (2020).

Valérie Besanceney (MEd) is originally Dutch, Swiss by nationality, and holds the numerous cultures she has lived in close to her heart. Valérie has been  an international educator for the past 17 years. Founder of Roots with Boots, she currently  consults  for  families,  schools,  and  organizations.  Author of two children’s books,  B at Home: Emma Moves Again and My Moving Booklet , she is passionate  about  helping  children  and  their  families  thrive  through  their transitions. She serves as the Executive Director for SPAN. Together with her husband, she also runs an English After School Activities Center in the Swiss mountain village that she calls home. She is the mother of two young cross-cultural daughters.

Course Lecturer:

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Drs. Douglas Ota is a psychologist, author, coach, presenter, consultant and PhD Candidate. Author of Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it, Doug’s passion is to challenge the educational community to address transitions effectively. He provides training to support, refresh, equip and connect transitions-care providers around the globe who are committed to healthy student, family and staff mobility within and between schools. Doug is the founder of SPAN and currently serves as the Advisor to the Governing Board. His PhD research, The Safe Passage Attachment Study at International Schools (SPASIS), examines the relationship between turnover and attachment security.

What our Alumni Have to Say:


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30 hours of learning

✓ 3 live sessions facilitated by SPAN Trainers

✓ 8 weeks (plus one week mid-session break)

✓ Elevate skills, deepen understanding, gain practical insights

✓ Research-driven practical impact

✓ Dynamic and diverse learning tasks

✓ Build global connections

✓ 6-month access to all content

Secure your place in our next 

SPAN Laws of Transitions Certificate Course

Looking for assistance in justifying your attendance for professional development?

Download our easily adaptable letter* to make a compelling case

to your school or organization.

*Inspired by [Yellow Car]

Have questions? 

Find answers to frequently asked questions

  • 1. What is the format of the course?
    8 weeks (30 hours) of learning 5 tasks per week Asynchronous discussions Three synchronous meeting times
  • 2. Do I have to show up at a particular place or a particular time?
    The majority of the course work can be done online at a time that suits you, within the timeframes of the course. There are three virtual live teaching sessions (usually weeks 1, 3 & 6) which we strongly encourage Learners to attend. The date and time of these are determined once the locations of the cohort are confirmed to cater for timezones. If the timing is unsuitable, the live sessions will be recorded for viewing at a time that works for you.
  • 3. What if I can’t attend a live teaching session?
    No problem! We will do our best to cater for time zone differences, however, if the timing is unsuitable, the live teaching sessions will be recorded for viewing at a time that works for you.
  • 4. I’m pretty busy. How much time do I need in order to complete this Course?
    Three to four hours of independent learning per module. One Office Hour with the course facilitator/s in week 1. Two live and interactive sessions of one-hour duration, usually in weeks 3 & 6. Additional time may be required when canvassing the perspective of others or working with colleagues. The final learning assurance task will require a minimum of four hours work.
  • 5. Do I have to complete each module of the course within the time allotted?
    The course facilitators have an expectation that all responses will be uploaded to the Canvas Learning Management System by the due date, however, we acknowledge that sometimes life does not go as planned. If an extension is required, this will be negotiated between the Learner and the facilitator/s.
  • 6. Where can I find the dates and times of the course?
    The dates for the upcoming course/s can be found here.
  • 7. How many people will be in the course cohort?
    A maximum of 30 Learners, from around the world, will be in the course cohort.
  • 8. Why is it beneficial for multiple members of a school to attend together?
    SPAN founder and Laws of Transitions course lecturer, Drs. Douglas Ota maintains, “the key to a successful Transitions Program at any school is the development and maintenance of a successful team.” Through completing the course as a team, Learners will: be equipped with knowledge and tools to address the trials and triumphs of transition within and beyond their school community, use research-based methodology to develop or enhance their school’s positive transitions-care policies, programs and practices, and collaborate as a team within their school in the development and implementation of robust positive transitions-care plans and strategies. School group Learners respond to some learning assurance tasks individually then use the questions to guide their external group dialogue. When asked to play with their learnings, school group Learners work together to complete the tasks, providing one response for the group. For the final certificate component, school group Learners may choose to complete this component individually (each Learner taking a different Law of Transitions) or as a group (focusing on one Law of Transitions across the three systems - individuals, the school and between schools).
  • 9. What if I can only sign up as an individual?
    Whether a Learner enrolls as an individual or as part of a school group, they will have opportunities to collaborate with classmates from across the globe. Individual Learners respond to all learning assurance tasks individually and also reply to at least one classmate’s Discussion Forum response in each module. Some tasks require dialogue with colleagues, students and/or parents. Learners are encouraged to share insights and learnings with their school communities, however, SPAN has copyright over the course content and materials which may not be shared with third parties.
  • 10. Who will be teaching the course?
    The Course Lecturer is Drs. Douglas Ota, founder of Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN) and author of Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it. The course is facilitated by educators and positive transitions-care experts, Jane Barron, SPAN Director of Training and Consulting and Valérie Besanceney, SPAN Executive Director.
  • 11. What is the pedagogical approach to the course?
    In alignment with Dewey, Vygotsky, Piaget and many other learning theorists, the Laws of Transitions Certificate Course prioritises the value of the individual experience in the learning process, as well as the power of collaboration in the acquisition of knowledge. Steeped in rigorous theoretical and practical pedagogical approaches, this learning series incorporates SPAN’s 10 Key Curriculum Components: 1. A Safe Place “People develop and learn best when they feel safe, supported and seen.” Doug Ota 2. Equitable & Just “Each of us is a whole, vibrant, perfectly-imperfect being with profound insight into ourselves and the world.” Six Seconds 3. Personalised “Always remember you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” Margaret Mead 4. Interactive “All human interactions are an opportunity to learn or to teach.” M. Scott Peck 5. Engaging & Challenging “When you want to build a ship, do not begin by gathering wood, cutting boards and distributing work, but rather awaken within men the desire for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 6. Practical “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” Anton Chekhov 7. Effective “If you talk to a man in the language he understands, it goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela 8. Learner Agency “We grow in the direction of the questions we ask.” Prof. David Cooperrider 9. Systems “By investing in the energy of the system, the system will continue renewing the energy for those participants in the system.” Aleka Bilan 10. SPAN Values “Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same but you leave them over everything you do.” Elvis Presley
  • 12. Why is it important to learn about the research behind positive transitions-care practices?
    Research is a tool to build understanding and facilitate learning. It allows Learners to support truths, dispel misconceptions and develop robust pitches to school leadership, colleagues, parents and students about why positive transitions-care matters. It provides fuel for critical and creative thinking and informs action and good practice.
  • 13. How (and why) will I get feedback during the course?
    Using the Canvas Learning Management System, Learners will receive written feedback from the facilitator/s weekly. Feedback in this course allows Learners to engage with the course content, monitor their responses and keep motivated. It encourages self-reflection, enhances knowledge retention and provides opportunities for constructive discussion with other Learners and the course facilitator/s.
  • 14. Do I receive a certificate of completion?
    Yes. Upon successful completion of the course Learners will receive a SPAN Certificate of Completion, demonstrating 30 hours of learning.
  • 15. Is there any recommended prior learning?
    It is recommended Learners read Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it by Doug Ota prior to beginning the course, however, it is not essential. The registration fee includes access to one Kindle version of this book, as Learners will be required to read sections of it during the course.
  • 16. What if I’m just beginning my learning journey in understanding and addressing transitions-care?
    This course is perfect for you because it is built around the six laws of transitions, essential for any effective transitions-care program. Learners will step forward into growth through video lectures, personal reflections, group discussions, deeper dives, learning loops and opportunities to play with your learning in the lab and in the field.
  • 17. What if I’m competent in my understanding and addressing of positive transitions-care?
    This course is perfect for you as it will add to your positive transitions-care toolkit. Learners will be provided with opportunities to evaluate their current transitions-care program while consolidating research facts to support their understanding and any conversations they have with leadership and their school community. The course allows for connection and collaboration with other transitions-care providers from across the world and to utilise their understanding and new learnings to create positive change in transitions-care in individuals, their school and between schools.
  • 18. What happens after the course ends?
    Learners have access to course content on the Canvas Learning Management System for six months after the conclusion of the learning series. Upon completion of the course, Learners are invited to join a cohort community to continue collaborating, networking and creating positive change in transitions-care within and between schools. The Laws of Transitions Certificate Course is the foundation course for all other SPAN courses. By completing this course Learners will be eligible to enroll in future SPAN courses. Completion of this Certificate Course and its application in the Learners’ schooling context, provides Learners with the opportunity to contribute to global positive practice transitions-care practices through showcase opportunities with the SPAN Training and Consulting Network and/or the SPAN Symposium. Be part of the SPAN family by becoming a SPAN member, partner and/or sponsor. Find out more here.
  • 19. What technology do I need to complete this certificate course?
    High-speed, reliable internet connection PC or Mac Speakers Microphone Headphones/set Webcam
  • 20. What are my payment options?
    Payment is by bank transfer in Euros or credit card.
  • 21. I am a SPAN member. Am I eligible for a discount?
    Yes! SPAN members are eligible for a registration discount. We also offer the registration of the certificate course bundled together with one annual Membership fee.
  • 22. I am a currently enrolled university student. May I apply for a discount?
    Yes! Currently enrolled university students may apply for a registration discount of €50 per student. You will need to provide a valid Student ID or enrollment confirmation.
  • 23. What is the cancellation and refund policy?
    Cancellation by Learner We’re sure you are going to find the Laws of Transitions Certificate Course valuable and rewarding. If you need to withdraw from the course after submitting your registration, there is a 14-day (10 working days) withdrawal period during which the registration can be cancelled, or refunded in case payment has already been made. There will be a €20 admin fee per registration. The withdrawal period expires after the first day of the course or the moment any teaching materials have been sent. After the course start date, and the course is not what you need, you can withdraw within the first two weeks of the learning series and we’ll provide a 50% refund (minus €20 admin fee per registration). After a cohort commences, due to unforeseen circumstances by force majeure, you can request to change to a future cohort of the same program within 50% of course completion. A deferral request must be submitted along with a reason and explanation. Cohort changes may be made only once per enrolment and is subjected to availability of cohorts scheduled at our discretion. This will not be applicable for deferrals within the refund period and the limit of one deferral per enrolment remains. All withdrawal, refund, and deferral requests should be sent to: Cancellation by SPAN Whilst every effort is made to avoid changes to our online professional learning program, Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN) reserves the right to withdraw or cancel any course. If for any reason we cancel a course, all course fees will be returned in full (for full details, please refer to our Terms & Conditions).
  • 24. The upcoming course dates don’t work for me, are there other options?
    We will be running the Laws of Transitions Certificate course at a later date. If you’d like to join the waiting list, please email and we’ll be in touch with future options.
  • 25. What if I still have questions?
    We are here to help you! Send us your questions via email to:
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