transition between classrooms

We have transition windows every other month. We transition children based on developmental criteria, age considerations, and family preferences, in that order. The transition process is routine to ensure the children are treated equally, but individualized and flexible to accommodate each child’s needs.

transition windows

We evaluate children throughout the year to assess their readiness for transition. We strive to transition children with their peers but are conscious that children develop at different rates. Every other month we evaluate children approaching the chronological age of the next classroom for developmental readiness [see Transition Process below].


For infants and toddlers, educators should use the readiness milestones to guide their decisions about transition into the next classroom. Those who are developmentally ready transition in small groups.


Children in the 3 preschool classrooms (except Stoughton) transition annually as a group in September and spend a full year in the Pre-K classroom, preparing them for the elementary school structure.


Entering kindergarten is one of the biggest transitions in a young child’s life. During the year in pre-kindergarten, teachers prepare children for this transition through the curriculum, social interactions, and daily routines. The pre-kindergarten curriculum is based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks to help every child achieve kindergarten readiness.

Some school systems send parents forms for their child’s pre-k teachers to complete. In addition to providing a reflection of the child’s readiness skills, they also give an opportunity to share information about personality, learning style, social development, individual personality, and temperament.

transition process

Assessing Children’s Readiness

About 6 weeks before the official transition date, each classroom receives a “Transition Notification Form” checklist with the names and birthdates of children old enough to transition. The transition decision is based on whether:


Upon receipt of the recommendation form, you should:

Partnering with Families

Transition can be a sensitive issue for parents. Communication with each family is key to success. Those moving to a new classroom are unsure of what they will find there, and those not transitioning sometimes feel their child has been “left out.”  Learn about families’ excitement or concerns ahead of time. Teaching teams in both classrooms are responsible for making families feel like partners in the process.

In preparing for transitions:


To assist families who do not want their child to transition from your room, be a good listener and hear their concerns. Focus your discussions on developmental cues and attempt to compromise with the family if necessary. Assure them we will assess their child’s adaptation and involve them in each step. Facilitate opportunities for the family to see their child in action in the classroom. Introduce the family to the teachers in the next classroom and encourage them to observe that group.

When a child transitions, both the new and old classroom teachers should reassure parents they’ll be watching the transition process carefully and supporting their child.

Collaboration among educators

Once we decide a child is ready to transition, we give parents a transition packet outlining the process with important dates and steps. They will be asked to authorize the exchange of information between educators in the 2 classrooms. After authorization, the 2 classrooms should meet to discuss all the transitioning children. This meeting should include:

Transition visits

We send parents of transitioning children information that outlines the process about a month before the scheduled transition date.

Children will visit the new classroom in increasing amounts over the 2 weeks before the transition. Some children may need more visits. Families may have scheduled absences during the visitation weeks, so please plan accordingly. Remember that available space in a classroom on any given day may depend upon the enrollment and staffing in several other classrooms.

Classroom teams are responsible for collaborating on how visits should happen. We will try to schedule extra staff during these times, if possible, but please be flexible and confirm with your coworkers that the plan for the day works for all. Sign the children in and out of your classroom’s attendance sheet for each visit. Write the name in if necessary. Whatever a child’s transition schedule, educators should inform parents daily about how the visits are going and answer any questions they have.

transition open houses

Classrooms should plan a Transition Open House for transitioning families before the first week of classroom visits. At the Open House, parents can meet the teachers and assistants in the next classroom, learn about the curriculum and activities there, and receive materials to assist them and their child during the process. This also offers a chance to reflect on the visits that have happened so far, discuss strategies, and get a sense of how families are feeling.

Staff attendance at the Transition Open House is crucial to the transition’s success. Here are guidelines for materials and information you should provide to parents at the Open House: