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Transitions in Early Childhood

Since change can be scary for parent and child alike, resources are available to address the various aspects surrounding these periods of transition.

Transitioning to a 3-5 program

If your child has been receiving early intervention services as a baby or toddler, when they turn 3 years of age they will "transition" to a different educational setting. This might include an early childhood classroom, an at-risk pre-K classroom or to actually receiving no services at all. Transitioning from an early intervention program to a preschool 3-5 program begins when your child is 2 1/2 years old. Some resources include:

  • "When I'm 3 where will I be?" (PDF) is an excellent publication by the ISBE that serves as a parent's guide for transitioning their child from early intervention to early childhood services.
  • Where will my child receive early childhood services? Typically when a child is eligible for special education services between the ages of 3 and 5 the school district provides those services in an early childhood classroom. However, you might be wondering whether it is possible for your child to instead receive services at their childcare program or at a private community preschool. While the theoretical answer to this question is "yes," the practical answer is "possibly with lots of advocacy."

Transitioning to Kindergarten

Once a child reaches kindergarten age around 5 or 6 they will "transition" into a kindergarten or special education classroom.

Contact Us

Johnna Darragh-Ernst

Professor Early Childhood Education

1500 W Raab Road
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8746

Email: johnna.darragh@heartland.edu