Back to School- Planning for Transitions

The following information was shared by a colleague and friend, Kenda Hammer, M.Ed., who so graciously introduced me to the literature which supports chronological age as the best indicator for kindergarten readiness. So as we prepare for the upcoming school year, many of us have children beginning preschool, kindergarten, or maybe transitioning to a new school entirely. How can we best support our children in achieving successful transitions?

According to the literature, children who are able to make smooth transitions share some important abilities: 

  • Interact with peers in a positive and cooperative manner
  • Engage in make-believe involving cooperative roles
  • Join other children's play
  • Speak to peers directly
  • Focus their attention on others in group situations
  • Respond to the social overtures of others
  • Have greater self-confidence

Families whose children make smooth transitions:

  • Tend to expect success for their children
  • Provide support and encouragement
  • Recognize the children's ability to complete tasks
  • Initiate opportunities for their children to interact with familiar and unfamiliar peers in large-group community settings
  • Gain confidence in their children's ability to succeed in new settings
  • Learn to communicate effectively with educational staff
  • Acquire greater knowledge and appreciation of the early childhood staff
  • Have a sense of pride and commitment in their ongoing involvement in the education of their children

Teachers and other staff who prepare children to make smooth transitions

  • Know the children more completely
  • Are better able to meet each child's needs
  • Establish good rapport with parents
  • Experience a renewed sense of professionalism as they reach out to young children and their families
  • Receive increased parental and community support
  • Gain more resources and a larger network of professional support
Planning for Terrific Transitions: Taken from SERVE, Improving Learning through Research & Development, 2004.
Sarah McDonnell, MA CCC-SLP
Emily Mashburn