Information for Families

 

Successful Transitions into Pre-k and K – the Parent Piece 

Transitions into public school programs are the start to your child’s school career, and your relationship with the school. Open communication and positive relationships between teachers/schools and families, teachers and students, and outside agencies and schools/teachers are only the beginning of setting up a successful and positive transition.  Everyone, including families, has an important role during this time, and it can be the start of a remarkable educational career within your student’s life. 

adult male walking in field holding two young children

 

What are the desired outcomes of having these roles work together?   

  • Students enter school being comfortable with the surroundings and adults in the classroom 
  • Students are better prepared to be successful academically and socially
  • Parents and families are confident school advocates for their children
  • Schools and educators have a better understanding of the students entering the classroom, providing an opportunity to meet the students where they are 

As parents, you are your child's first and most important educators. This does not end upon school enrollment!  Click below to explore valuable information and activities you can do to ensure a smoother transition, and successful start, for your child:

Where to start:
  • Reaching Out To Your Child's School:
    • If your child is 5 on or before October 15th of the current school year, then they are eligible for public kindergarten.
      • Contact your local school department about enrollment and transition processes and timelines.
      • Explore Pre-K options in your community. Some, but not all, school districts offer public Pre-K and your child may be eligible if they turn 4 on or before October 15th of the current school year and meet locally determined enrollment criteria 
    • For students whose families are English Language Learners (ELL):
      • Start by asking who can help with the enrollment process, and what documents families will need to provide. If you need interpretation services and/or materials – ask the school how they can support with these.
      • If your child will need ELL services, discuss this with the school staff to make sure these services will be available, as needed.  
    • Leading up to the start of the new school year:
      • Be sure to review and complete all forms required by the school in a timely manner. 
      • Connect with your child’s future school about schedules:  school year calendar, daily start and end times (including late start or early dismissal times), bus schedules (if applicable) and drop off and pick up procedures (if applicable).  
      • Complete and fill out screening information that the school may send you prior to the deadlines.  This is important information that informs classroom teachers about your child so that they can ensure that the transition into the classroom is smooth.
      • Arrange a visit to the school with your child prior to the first day and meet your classroom teacher – a familiar face and classroom will be comforting to your child in the first few days of school.  Ask if you can walk through the school with your student, letting them see where they will be.  If you are unable to go into the classroom, request an online meeting! 
      • Connect with teachers and school about what supplies your child will need to have with them at school. 
      • Communicate changes in contact information with the school and classroom teachers, as needed, throughout the enrollment process and the school year.
  • Important Things To Do At Home:
    • Talk with your child about the upcoming school year, sharing memories of your school experience
    • Encourage play dates with children that may be in your child’s class. 
    • Read stories about going to school
    • Work toward a new school-day routine
    • Ensure that your child has a consistent bedtime routine 
What you should know regarding your student with a current IEP or 504 plan:

 

  • If your child has a current IEP (Individualized Education Plan), or may be in need of a 504 plan (for students with a physical or mental impairment that limits their abilities at school), and will be enrolling into a public Pre-K program, discuss this with the teacher or appropriate person at the school prior to school starting. 
  • Provide the school and teachers with assessments and goals from any current service providers with whom your child works. The school may ask you to sign a waiver so that they can speak directly with the provider to gain more important information about your child. 
  • If your child will be transitioning into a public Kindergarten classroom, and has a current IEP, CDS will schedule an IEP transition meeting with your team.  The IEP transition team includes parents, the CDS case manager and IEP facilitator, service provider/s, and preschool teacher, as well as kindergarten teacher, special education coordinator, service providers (school staff) and possibly the school’s principal/assistant principal.  Be prepared to share your child’s strengths at home, as well as any ongoing concerns you may have.  This meeting is about making sure your child has what s/he needs in place when entering the school year.  Don’t be afraid to speak up and give your thoughts… after all, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. 
  • If your student has a current 504 plan, this will renew through a team meeting upon the start of the school year.  If you feel that your student may be in need of a 504 plan, let the school staff know this when you register your child.  You will need to have a current doctor's note addressing the concerns, and the school will set up a team meeting with you, and the appropriate school staff.
For additional resources and Department Contact Information, please go to our Resources page