Transitions in Early Childhood
Since change can be a scary time for parent and child alike, resources are available to address the various aspects surrounding these periods of transition. As a paraprofessional you can help families through these times by providing information and support.
Transitioning to a 3-5 program
If a child has been receiving early intervention services as a baby or toddler, when they turn three 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 receiving no services at all. Transitioning from an early intervention program to a preschool 3-5 program begins when a child is 2 ½ years old.
- "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 three and five the school district provides those services in an early childhood classroom. However, parents might wonder whether it is possible for their child to receive services at their childcare program or at a private community preschool instead. While the theoretical answer to this question is "yes," the practical answer is "possibly— with lots of parental advocacy." Visit service settings in early childhood for further information on this issue.
Transitioning to Kindergarten
Once a child reaches kindergarten age around five or six they will "transition" into a kindergarten or special education classroom.
- "Collaborative Steps: Paving the Way to Kindergarten for Young Children with Disabilities," (PDF) published by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), provides an overview of many of the issues when transitioning to kindergarten.
- "Is my child ready for kindergarten?" is a question that most parents ask themselves at some point. The Illinois State Board of Education provides information to address this question through their Early Learning Project website.