Transition from EarlySteps to school can feel scary, but it helps to learn about the next phase and prepare for it.
First of all, don't be worried!
EarlySteps can feel very safe and comfortable. It's easy to stress about what will happen when you move on.
Remember these 2 things:
The next phase is new and unknown, but you will still get help and support from people who care.
Your EarlySteps coordinator will help you all the way through transition.
Here's what you can do to prepare for this change:
Take note of how your child is doing with the EarlySteps services. What kinds of services will they probably still need when they turn 3? Think about what you want for them in the next few years.
Talk to your EarlySteps coordinator about next steps for your child.
Look at local programs and activities to help your child get used to new settings. (Click the button below to learn more.)
Look for a Transition or Turning-3 workshop for parents. Ask your EarlySteps program director or Families Helping Families.
Start to learn about your school system's Special Education department. (Sometimes it's called ESS.) See what they offer and tell them your child may be coming their way.
Put together a Transition Packet to have all your important papers together. (Click the button below to learn more.)
Remember that your child may soon be in a new setting, like a preschool or play group.
Now is the time to think about how to help them adjust to a new environment.
EarlySteps is usually a very home-based support system.Some kids go to community play groups or get services at daycare, but most kids have been seeing their specialists in their home with their families.
The next phase should start to get them ready for the preschool setting.This means they should practice being in groups with other kids and getting used to other community activities.
Here's what you can do:
Think about what your child likes to do. What kind of activities would they enjoy? Do they like Reading? Music? Active play? Nature? If possible, ask them what they'd like to do for fun outside of the house.
Look at classes or free activities in your town. Libraries often have story time or sing-a-longs. Your town may have art, sports, or dance programs for young kids. Find activities that your child would like.
Take your child to visit these programs and see how they react.
Ask other parents and your FSC for ideas.
Source: Family Ties
Creating your Transition Packet
As you start to work with the school system, you will need to share records and information about your child. It will help help to have all of this in one place.
Many parents like to use a binder for this.
What to include:
Contact info for all service providers your family has used
Your own notes about your child
Lists of local programs and activities that may be good for child
There are also formal planning activities that you'll do with your EI service coordinator. These include filling out a Transition Plan, and having the Transition Planning Conference. See the next page to learn more.
Click on the link at the bottom of the page to download a short fact sheet.
Sources: Arlington School, E. Ward, LDOE, LDH