Transitioning into Kindergarten

An Entry-to-School Plan

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Your child will soon start kindergarten at a school. This is an exciting period for you and your child. However, as the day approaches, concerns and questions begin to pop up. Is my child ready? How will my child like school? Will the school be able to support my child and their special needs?

A transition plan may be developed for your child with a special need to ensure their success in a new school environment. A transition plan is a school's written plan to assist your student in making a successful transition from preschool, daycare, or at home to a school environment. It identifies goals for your child, defines actions that are necessary year by year to help your child achieve their goals, and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of your child, the family and others in carrying out these actions.

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Early Registration

You can register your child to a school nine to twelve months before the start of school. This will give you and your child time to meet the principal and discuss the special needs of your child and any concerns you have for your child's success. This will also give the principal time to create a transition plan, work with your preschool and daycare providers as well as other agencies that can help your child with their success. You may be asked to provide consent to the gathering and exchanging of information between the preschool program and the school board to gain important and helpful information for your child's transition.

Transition Meeting

The purpose of a transition meeting is to:

  • Develop a detailed entry-to-school protocol
  • Identify and establish links with community agencies that provide services to preschool children and their families
  • Agree on next steps and general goals for your child
  • Make a commitment to work together by all the individuals involved with the transition plan
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities for yourself, school staff any others involved
  • Invite parents to participate in the entry-to-school planning process and establish systems to allow their meaningful involvement throughout the process
  • Review student portfolio that may include current assessments, samples of the child's work, preschool reports and a description of strategies used at home

Your child's transition plan will have clearly defined procedures, roles, responsibilities and timelines for all members involved in the transition process (i.e. educators, parents, school boards and community members). Each member will have a distinct role in ensuring your child's success. It is important that all members understand the language and terms in the plan.

An Entry-to-School (Transition) Plan

School boards work with community agencies (preschool, daycare, other agencies) to develop a written plan for the school-entry process with timelines that outline the roles and responsibilities of parents and various organizations. An entry-to-school protocol (transition plan) is develop which lists all the agencies and school board personnel participating in the protocol and address the following elements:

• the time period covered by the agreement

• a statement of purpose for the agreement

• roles and responsibilities of the agencies and school boards that sign the agreement
• definitions of key terminology used in the protocol
• descriptions of the procedures for:

  • informing and supporting families through the transition
  • gathering and sharing information and assessment results
  • obtaining parental consent for the release of information to other agencies
• timelines and responsibilities for:
  • determining eligibility for services
  • writing the entry-to-school plan
  • acquiring needed adaptive equipment or assistive technology
  • providing training to staff on matters relating to special needs
  • monitoring implementation of the plan

Important Members of the Transition Plan

Successful entry-to-school planning involves the collaboration of key individuals who know your child best. This involves sharing information and coordinating resources for your child. Key individuals who can help create an effective transition plan are:

  • family members
  • providers of preschool and daycare programs and services
  • school-board staff

Roles and Responsibilities

The Student

  • participate and execute the transition plan to the best of their abilities

Parents, Other Family Members and Non-Family Advocates

  • assist your child to feel comfortable with the process
  • assist your child in communicating with other members of the planning team
  • suggest options appropriate for your child
  • assist your child in carrying out the actions assigned to them in the transition plan
  • identify any external service providers who are working with your child
  • give permission to contact these persons and invite them to participate in the transition-planning team

Preschool/Daycare Teachers

  • provide relevant observations about the student's strengths, needs, interests and performance

Special Education Teachers

  • match the student's needs and interests with appropriate goals
  • identify effective actions to assist the your child in achieving those goals

Educational Assistants

  • if your child has an educational assistant, developmental service worker or child and youth worker who works with them, they may have a good idea of your child's interests, strengths and needs

Psychologists and Other Professionals

  • if a psychologist, social worker or other support professional has already worked closely with your child, their input will be helpful in formulating goals and actions that are appropriate
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Other Ways to Prepare your Child for School

Attend a Parent Information Meeting

  • Usually held in early spring
  • You will get to understand a typical day at school, the school program and skills and knowledge necessary upon entry to become successful
  • Learn about non-school services (i.e. child-care services, community support, Public Health services, parenting courses available in the community)
  • Learn about school procedures and policy (i.e. inclement weather, safe arrival, transportation, snacks, recess, parent volunteers, assessment, report cards, parent-teacher interviews)

Attend a Classroom Observation or School Visit

  • You and your child can visit a classroom on a regular day to observe the routine and activities in a typical day
  • Meet your child's future teacher at the end of summer or early September

Social Story Book

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Other Resources to Read

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