Transitions happen all the time. In early childhood, children and families experience transition each time some change in general routine occurs. Examples include beginning kindergarten or changing to a new school, moving to a new town or city, starting a new early care and education program, or using a new babysitter or religious education program. Transitions are often mistakenly viewed as single occurring events when they are actually a series of events or processes. How we look at transition and the planning that goes into the process greatly impacts the positive (or negative) results to what occurs next.
We do know that adequate planning prior to starting something new does have a positive impact on what ultimately happens during and after the transition. We also know that sudden and unplanned transitions can result in negative consequences. Sudden changes in routine may cause stress and/or result in undesirable behaviors. Planned and anticipated transition helps all involved to understand what is to come.
We understand that when children start a new early childhood program we need to prepare them, their families and the program staff for the changes that will occur, if we want the transition to be successful for all involved. What follows is a report completed for the Delaware Department of Education by the Center for Collaborative Planning (University of Kentucky), on the essential components of a transition framework that can be used to support the transition of young children and their families. Four key elements are outlined including: using effective program design, supporting cross-program activities, involving families in the process, and establishing effective policies supporting transition efforts. Each of the four key elements are explained and an accompanying annotated bibliography is provided.
Starting something new while simultaneously being prepared for what may come, helps to make that change more successful. This philosophy is applicable when moving from home to a preschool classroom, moving from an early intervention program into a community early care and education setting, and beginning kindergarten. Each new setting has its own unique characteristics. Understanding how those characteristics are different and being prepared and aware of the changes that will come should help support children and families to be successful in their new settings.
We hope this document will help parents and providers begin their own understanding and process of planning for transition.
Please see below for more information on Early Childhood Transition.
For more information on Early Childhood Transition, you can contact the Early Childhood Work Group at the Delaware Department of Education, 401 Federal Street, Suite 2, Dover, DE 19901.