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Recommended Practices and Strategies

Practices are defined as key elements of transition planning that are broad and global in nature and can be implemented in ways that reflect a shared understanding of the intent of the practice and are regularly and consistently implemented across staff and programs.

Strategies are defined as specific program or classroom activities used to implement a practice.

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 Strategy
  All reference sources are documents produced by researchers at the National Early Childhood Transition Center, and include the following:

· Rous, B., Hallam, R., McCormick, K., & Cox, M. (2010). Practices that support the transition to public preschool programs: Results from a National Survey. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(1), 17-32.
· Rous, B., Myers, C.T. & Stricklin, S. (2007). Strategies for supporting transitions for young children with special needs. Journal of Early Intervention, 30(1), 1-18.
· Technical Report 3: Rous, B. (2008). Recommended transition practices for young children and families. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, Human Development Institute.
· Technical Report 2: Rous, B., Schroeder, C., Stricklin, S., Hains, A., & Cox, M. (2008). Transition issues and barriers for children with significant disabilities and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, Human Development Institute.
· Technical Report 6: Dogaru, C., Rosenkoetter, S., & Rous, B. (2009). A critical incident study of the transition experience for young children with disabilities: Recounts by parents and professionals. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, Human Development Institute.
 

1. A primary contact person for transition is identified within each program or agency (Interagency Structure)

  Identify a contact person for follow-up in case parents have questions after meetings.
  Provide a program/school liaison to work with health care providers.
  Assign a transition coordinator to work geographically with sending provider/teacher, receiving program staff, & parent at transition planning meetings.
  Use parent liaisons to support family program visits.
  Provide transition facilitators at early intervention, preschool, & kindergarten programs.
  Family service workers assist families with transition.
  Identify a staff member as a "contact person" to visit families prior to the initial IEP to establish rapport.
  Assign an advocate to assist families in identifying & navigating the system.
 

2. Community- & program-wide transition activities & timelines are identified. (Continuity & Alignment)

  Provide community/child/parent informational flyers about programs for designated age groups which are disseminated widely in community settings (e.g., grocery stores, WIC offices) in a variety of formats (e.g. posters, local papers) before and after school starts.
  Send letters to parents in their primary language regarding what to do to enroll their child in the program or school district & invite them to visit the receiving school.
  Send checklist of needed steps/items to enroll in school.
  Attend a placement meeting with kindergarten teachers to discuss placement of children in kindergarten.
  Provide an open house for parents & children before school starts.
  Provide an open house for parents & children after school starts.
  Support family participation in registration for program, school or district.
  Develop community transition plans that include activities for diverse children and families.
  Provide Child Find & Health Fairs to support outreach to underserved populations.
  Conduct quarterly meetings for families, service coordinators, & public school staff where schools provide welcome packets to families.
  Teachers and other staff swap classes & teach for a time to understand sending & receiving environments.
  Provide parent orientation at program & school sites.
  Develop a Transition Manual across all programs to be given to parents with training.
  Conduct large group program & classroom visitations for staff, children & families. Visits between professionals so they can see what other programs are doing. Family & providers visit public school & other programs after eligibility determination.
  Hold a district wide "round-up."
  Preschool staff come to the kindergarten at the beginning of school to help with transition of children and families.
  Hosts transition forums through local coordinating councils for parents with school system, early intervention and other programs.
  Have preschool staff come to kindergarten early in the school year (August/September) to help with transition.
 

3. Referral processes & timelines are clearly specified. (Interagency Structure; Continuity & Alignment)

  Develop a universal intake form with personal information (e.g., allergies, behaviors, family situations, support systems) & a system of routing it to the correct agency.
  Conduct joint intake with regional early intervention center, school system, mental health, etc.
  Hospital staff conduct follow-up checks with families to verify child's referral to early intervention.
  Develop & follow memorandum of understanding (MOU) between early intervention & preschool programs to make referrals at age 2 years 6 months & transition by 2 years 9 months to district for preschool.
  Provide outreach services to other agencies & professionals so they are comfortable & knowledgeable about available programs when referring families.
 

4. Enrollment processes & timelines are clearly specified. (Interagency Structure; Continuity & Alignment)

  Participate in registration for school or district.
  Develop guidelines to assist parents & agencies to better understand timelines & enrollment requirements.
  Develop a connected database system to ensure & support enrollment & services.
 

5. Program eligibility processes & timelines are clearly delineated. (Interagency Structure; Continuity & Alignment)

  Accept & utilize outside assessments for the child & family from qualified professionals.
  Streamline & clarify the eligibility process between programs (e.g. Part C & Part B).
  Coordinate assessments between programs (e.g. early intervention & the school system).
  Delineate & clarify responsibility for evaluation of children who turn 3 within school year.
  Provide personal support in understanding the child/family beyond the disability in the evaluation.
  Develop graphic tools to help staff and parents better understand the process & timelines, enrollment options, etc.
 

6. Agencies develop formal mechanisms to minimize disruptions in services before, during, & after the transition of the child & family. (Interagency Structure; Continuity & Alignment)

  Provide funding for overlapping services during the 6 months prior to child's third birthday for dialogue, co-treatment, & seamless transition.
  Establish a Transition Committee (special & regular education/school readiness/community) that meets regularly to discuss needs & address issues.
  Provide service delivery for early intervention within the school system.
  Develop relationships with referring agencies (breakfasts, joint trainings, info to Higher Ed).
  Change system cut off dates for services to age 3/preschool services (like school system).
  Continue to provide services & supports to children & families in early intervention programs when child's birthday is after cutoff date (i.e., provide summer services until school resumes).
  Develop and follow Interagency Agreements or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that are mutually adhered to between early intervention & preschool programs that address services such as child find, referrals, services/inclusion.
  Continue IFSP through age 3 & align Part C & Part B at both the federal & state levels.
  Provide consistency & continuity of staff, teams & materials across transitions.
  Offer service coordination in all programs (early intervention, preschool, & kindergarten).
  Conduct regular meetings among school, early childhood, & preschool staff in the community to share ideas, discuss challenges, & identify strategies.
 

7. Staff & family members are actively involved in the design of transition processes & systems. (Interagency Structure; Communication & Relationships)

  Provide mechanism & support for clear, ongoing communication with individual families & program administrators.
  Create a transition team or Transition Committee (special education/regular education/school readiness/community) that meets monthly to discuss needs & address issues.
  Provide a workshop for kindergarten & preschool staff to discuss strategies & modifications for transition activities.
  Convene a work group of parents from different backgrounds (language, educational levels) to help develop parent-friendly forms.
  Schedule a place & time for transition meetings at the convenience of parents.
 

8. Families meaningfully participate as partners with staff in program- & community-wide transition planning efforts. (Interagency Structure)

  Honor parents' knowledge of the child in all transitions.
  Respect parents/families priorities, concerns, & values.
  Include family members as part of the community transition team.
  Hold quarterly meetings with parents & professionals, sending & receiving agencies, & community providers to plan for the transition & answer any questions.
  Support families as co-chairs in events & meetings.
 

9. Conscious & transparent connections are made between curricula & child expectations across programs/environments. (Continuity & Alignment)

  Develop a coordinated curriculum with other programs.
  Conduct regular meetings among school, early childhood, & preschool staff in community to share ideas, discuss challenges, & identify strategies.
  Visit incoming children's preschools/programs for 2 & 3-year-olds.
  Kindergarten teachers visit preschool class to talk about kindergarten.
  Conduct regular meetings between programs (early intervention & preschool; preschool and kindergarten) to discuss continuity between programs.
  Attend general meetings to discuss transition practices across programs.
  Provide administrators with early childhood training, information on developmentally appropriate practices, & opportunities to spend time in early childhood classrooms.
  Continue IFSP through age 3 & align Part C & Part B at both the federal & state levels.
  Offer a symposium explaining different philosophies/approaches used in various programs.
  Teachers, providers, and/or administrators visit sending and receiving programs to get a "feel" for where they are sending children, and to discuss specific child needs and interventions.
  Conduct multi-level and cross-agency team (e.g., teachers, related services, preschool, kindergarten) training within a program on DAP, early childhood standards, curriculum and assessment.
 

10. Transition plans are developed that include individual activities for each child & family. (Continuity & Alignment)

  With parent permission, share a transition referral packet containing the following types of information: Pictures, social stories, primary reinforcers, strategies to implement/avoid, & videotape for the specific student. With parent permission, provide a note with a picture & biography of the child (e.g., likes, dislikes, etc.) so everyone knows he/she is an individual. Include family information for introductions at planning (e.g., IFSP/IEP) meeting. Teaching strategies for child are forwarded to receiving teachers. Write a parent report & place a picture of the child on the front of the report or include a note with a picture & biography of the child & family information to new teacher for introductions. Information on child & family before transition (e.g., number for whom to contact; number of previous teachers/service provider agencies).
  Arrange family visits (individual or very small group) to different programs and schools before referral, final decision, and/or transition to programs occur.
  Conduct a home visit before program/school starts to build rapport with the child and family, to build rapport and gather information, and to discuss general classroom structure, activities, etc.
  Conduct a home visit after program/school starts to provide and gather information on the child's adjustment and progress.
  Providers/Teachers arrange for children to visit their future teachers and classrooms.
  Talk with parents to help prepare them for the child's transition.
  Provide opportunities for a child's family to talk with preschool & kindergarten staff about the special needs of their child &/or details like meals, transportation, & special services available.
  Use a family services notebook or handbook with a section for medical information, IFSPs/IEPs, agencies, & staff names, to organize papers & introduce families to service system.
  Family & providers visit public school & programs after eligibility determination
  Invite children in early intervention to a play group/time/visitation for observation.
  Develop individualized education plans & follow through with IEPs.
  Offer visits to the new school prior to transition for personal introduction of child & family to new environment (e.g., 1:1 visit, small group visit, NOT open house).
  Implement gradual transition into preschool & kindergarten with specific goals & objectives.
  Visits by family to programs prior to transition as part of transition plan.
  Conduct comprehensive planning to discuss the child's & family's specialized needs.
  Personalize the transition with personal information sheet from the sending teacher & parent to new teachers and staff.
  Provide copies of reports for parents to share with school or agency.
 

11. Children have opportunities to develop & practice skills they need to be successful in the next environment (Continuity & Alignment)

  Use high quality assessments to identify children's skill levels.
  Choose & implement curricula that are developmentally appropriate.
  Implement strategies that will help the child learn skills they will need in developmentally appropriate ways.
  Modify the curriculum before the child enters a preschool or kindergarten class.
  Teachers and other providers visit receiving programs to get a "feel" for where they are sending children.
 

12. Methods are in place to support staff-to-staff communication both within & across programs (Communication & Relationships; Continuity & Alignment)

  Participate in joint workshops/trainings across early childhood programs in the community.
  Provide training to program staff on effective transition practices.
  Ask staff which communication method they prefer (email, voicemail, daily/weekly buddy news, monthly newsletter).
  Provide meeting time for teacher & paraprofessional for transition planning.
  Provide stipends to staff to collaborate & plan prior to beginning of school year.
  Preschool & kindergarten staff swap classes & teach for a time to understand sending & receiving environments.
  Develop partnerships & offer cross-training between regular & special education administrators & staff.
  Provide release time for teachers to support transition planning.
  Increase & enhance collaboration, early contacts, & relationships across all agencies (e.g., meetings, communication, pooling resources) for the good of the child & to increase awareness.
  Provide administrators with opportunities to spend time in early childhood classrooms.
  Attend a placement meeting with kindergarten teachers to discuss placement of children in kindergarten.
 

13. Staff roles & responsibilities for transition activities are clearly delineated (Communication & Relationships; Continuity & Alignment)

  Provide specific training sessions on effective transition practices (such as family dynamics across diverse populations, different philosophies, transition regulations, and supporting parents during the grieving process) that have been adopted by the program and/or community.
  Offer staff education regarding transition regulations.
  Support staff (e.g., release time, staff development) in gaining necessary information/ knowledge regarding their role, the process, curriculum, range of options, & resources.
  Outline specific transition roles and responsibilities of all sending and receiving staff.
  Develop policy & accountability processes related to who participates in IEP & transition.
  Provide training for program clerk/secretary on the child find/referral process & services & community programs.
  Provide joint training for parents, staff, & agencies on transition, including cultural awareness training.
  Establish individual program policies, procedures, & staff training to ensure smooth transitions.
  Provide release time for teachers to support transition planning.
  Develop procedures to ensure sending & receiving program staff participate in transition planning meetings.
  Hire a permanent substitute for preschool & kindergarten classrooms so teachers can participate in in-service training & planning.
  Conduct multi-level and cross-agency team (e.g., teachers, related services, preschool, kindergarten) training within a program on DAP, early childhood standards, curriculum and assessment.
  Require continuing education in the area of special needs & transition.
 

14. Staff know key information about a broad array of agencies & services available within the community.

  Increase accessibility of resource information by developing a directory (community agency resource booklet) of public & private programs & agencies available in the community.
  Provide online access to transition information, including the establishment of online communities for transition specific strategies and ideas, both within and across programs.
  Preschool & kindergarten staff swap classes & teach for a time to understand sending & receiving environments.
  Provide outreach services to early childhood & medical professionals to help them feel comfortable with & knowledgeable about available programs when referring families.
  Visit and observe other programs.
  Offer a symposium explaining different philosophies/approaches used in various programs. At the state level, gather information regarding various services & models for transition & share statewide.
  Participate in joint workshops/trainings with early intervention, public school, Head Start & other early childhood programs in the community.
  Conduct regular meetings among school, early childhood, & preschool staff in community to share ideas, discuss challenges, & identify strategies.
 

15. Individual child & family transition meetings are conducted.

  Attend transition meetings/conferences to plan transition activities for individual children.
  Service providers help prepare this child's family ahead of time for the transition process.
  Staff meet with child & family before school starts.
  Assign a transition coordinator to work geographically with sending provider/teacher, receiving program staff, & parent at transition planning meetings.
  Develop strong transition meetings (e.g., transition conferences).
  Support parents in preparing for meetings by helping them identify appropriate & relevant questions.
  Provide parents with information & answers to key questions regarding Part B services at transition meetings (i.e., 90 day transition conference).
  Conduct multi-level and cross-agency team (e.g., teachers, related services, preschool, kindergarten) training within a program on DAP, early childhood standards, curriculum and assessment.
  Invite school district representatives to attend transition meetings with families, therapists, & service coordinators.
  Hold a meeting with the child & family before program/school starts.
  Visit the child's home before &/or after program/school starts.
  Provide substitutes for providers, & preschool & kindergarten teachers so they can participate in transition meetings.
 

16. Families are aware of the importance of transition planning & have information they need to actively participate in transition planning with their child.

  Simplify communication & information regarding transitions so that they are clear & to the point (e.g., address different literacy levels & languages).
  Provide community/child/parent informational flyers about programs for designated age groups which are disseminated widely in community settings (e.g., grocery stores, WIC offices) in a variety of formats (e.g. posters, local papers) before and after school starts.
  Send letters to the child's parents before and after programs/schools start.
  Provide family with information they need to help make decisions and about how their child's services will change after transition.
  Provide families with specific information about the new setting, such as the name of a contact person, skills this child would be expected to have, & assessments needed.
  Inform & educate families on all possible placement options, & the procedures & expectations of the programs.
  Support families in being part of the decision-making team about where/when their child will go for services after transition.
  Support families in building relationships with other families through program visits & home/school clubs.
  Include the family as an active team member in any assessment of the child.
  Prior to transition, invite parents to orientation specifically for them.
  Provide parents with an information sheet with principal name, school name/address, & school phone number.
  Hold quarterly meetings/socials for parents, sending & receiving agencies, & community providers to plan for the transition & answer any questions.
  Provide opportunities for families to meet with all receiving school staff prior to transition & include all staff in the classroom (cafeteria, library, etc).
  Providers/Teachers arrange for children & families to visit preschool or kindergarten programs.
  Ensure families understand information and take time to explain information when it is not understood by the families.
 

17. Families’ needs related to transition are assessed & addressed.

  Offer staff training on dealing with the grieving process to support parents during transition.
  Use native speakers for family events.
  Identify with parents how they can be involved in the transition process; particularly, strategies that work for the individual family.
  Provide personal support in understanding the child/family beyond the disability in the evaluation.
  Talk with the child's parents before school starts.
  Continue family support across programs & services.
  Assign a case manager or family service worker to each child to help families go through the process.
  Provide written materials in the parents' home language & at the appropriate literacy level, that provide guidelines for the transition process.
  When conducting home visits, use the family's home language (through matched staff, bilingual teaching assistants, interpreters).
 

18. Families have information about & are linked with resources & services to help them meet their specific child & family needs.

  Facilitate contacts between parents of children in a program or class.
  Offer opportunities for a child's family to talk with other parents about the experiences they had during the transition.
  Offer parent support groups & case workers to help manage schedules.
  Empower the parent to exercise their rights.
  Offer a lending library or community-based pool of equipment and ask families to donate their used equipment.
  Develop a parent resource/support network with agencies/programs & parents (of some commonality) who have transitioned who are trained to support other parents.
  Offer parent advocacy groups with an advocate in all schools to assist families in identifying & navigating the system.
  Encourage direct contact with Family Resource Centers (e.g., to attend IEP meetings with families & to hold transition workshops for families).
  Families talk to the IEP team to know who their contacts are.
  Build relationships with families, participate/visit, & join a home/school club.
  Work with families to identify their needs & provide them with a list of resources to access.
  Send letters to parents in their primary language regarding what to do to enroll their child in the program or school district & invite them to visit the receiving school.
 

19. Families actively participate in gathering information about their child’s growth & development.

  Arrange for children & families to visit preschool or kindergarten programs.
  Include family as an active team member in assessment of child.
  Embed methods to get family input about their child's interest & abilities during the assessment process.
  Ensure that assessment results accurately reflect child's behavior & ability during daily routines.
  After the transition, develop methods to determine if assessment results were useful in planning transition outcomes.
  Provide family with plenty of time to review assessment results & ask questions before decisions about child are made.
  Develop processes that allow families easy access to their child's records.
  Send information home to parents about preschool or kindergarten programs.
  Talk with the child's parents before school starts.
  Honor parents' knowledge of the child in all transitions.
  Provide education to parents & make expectations clear.
  Provide methods for staff and parents to communicate consistently between home & school.
  Provide developmental checklists to families to help them understand child growth & development.
  Support parents in keeping a developmental journal of their child's growth & development.
  Support parents in working along with the school in documenting what their child can do.
 

20. Transition team members share appropriate information about each child making a transition.

  With parent permission, share a transition referral packet containing the following types of information: Pictures, social stories, primary reinforcers, strategies to implement/avoid, & videotape for the specific student. With parent permission, provide a note with a picture & biography of the child (e.g., likes, dislikes, etc.) so everyone knows he/she is an individual. Include family information for introductions at planning (e.g., IFSP/IEP) meeting.
  Develop mechanisms to support informal contacts between sending providers/ teachers to discuss transition concerns.
  Conduct regular meetings between sending & receiving teachers to discuss individual children's progress throughout the year.
  Early intervention, preschool & kindergarten staff communicated to the child's family about the transition.
  Make written records of the child's past experiences or status available.
  Ensure that the child's records promptly followed him/her to the new program.
  With parent permission, receiving & sending staff share information/observations prior to transition.
  Teaching strategies for child are forwarded to receiving teachers.
  Write a parent report & place a picture of the child on the front of the report or include a note with a picture & biography of the child & family information to new teacher for introductions.
  Information on child & family before transition (e.g., number for whom to contact; number of previous teachers/service provider agencies).
  Develop a goal matrix to show how goals are addressed throughout the day and across settings.
  Provide accessible/convenient information to all teachers and staff that work with the family and child (e.g., lead, PE, music, etc.).
  Ensure all receiving agency staff have access to specific information on child's special needs.
 

21. Staff follow-up on children after the transition to support their adjustment (also Continuity & Alignment)

  Share information with child's family about how he/she is adjusting to new setting.
  Child's new teacher asks family about how they think their child is adjusting to the new setting.
  Staff from both settings work with this child's family to solve any problems or difficulties encountered with the new setting.
  Sending staff go to receiving class for initial transition.
  Evaluation & follow-up after the transition occurs (i.e. contacting family as to how transition went & what we can do better).
  Providers/teachers have talk or meeting with the child's parents after school starts.
  Send letters to the child's parents before and after programs/schools start.
  Invite parents & children to an open house after school starts.
  Create a Transition team that meet regularly to plan, discuss, & evaluate transitions.

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