Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Transition Plans

Like everyone, children make transitions throughout their lives. Their first transition might be from home to an early child care or learning programs. They may transition within a program to different age groups or classrooms, or to a new child care setting. Another transition could be from an early childhood program to school.

Careful transition planning helps children to better understand what to expect before, during, and after a transition, which leads to greater success. Rehearsing or role playing what a transition might be like, visiting a new program for a short period of time, and meeting new adults and children in a program are all ways adults can help prepare children for transitions.

In addition to specific steps to support children through transitions, quality programs have policies that describe how important information about a child is transferred from one setting to another. This includes background information about a child, preferences, and records that help ensure that the adults receiving the child have the information they need to plan effectively for a smooth transition for everyone.

happy young girl in glasses with a backpack
Plan for Successful Transitions

This section guides you to think about and describe how your program plans for transitions and prepares children to transition from home to your program, within your program, and from your program to other child care environments. Your statement serves as documentation for Administrative Policies and Practices: Transition Plans: ADM 15.3.

Select the Requirements tab to learn about key information to include in your documentation of your program's approach to transition planning.

Requirements

The following interactive shows you the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Transition Plans: ADM 15.3. Key requirements are marked by a bright dot. Select each dot for information about what to include in your documentation.

Select the option that applies to your program type:

 

  Child Care Center

  Family Child Care
ADM 15.3: Transition Plans Transition plans developed for children, including individualized plans for children with disabilities and special health care needs. Documentation to submit: Transition Plans Statement

  School-Age Only
ADM 15.3: Transition Plans Transition plans developed for children, including individualized plans for children with disabilities and special health care needs. Documentation to submit: Transition Plans Statement

 

Instructions

To meet the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Transition Plans: ADM 15.3, you will upload a statement that describes your program’s transition plans that include:

  • Children’s transitions upon enrollment (from home to your program)
  • Children’s transitions within your program (between age groups or classrooms)
  • Children’s transitions from your program to school settings
  • How your program individualizes transition plans for children with disabilities or special health care needs. Even if no children with special health care needs or disabilities are currently enrolled in your program, be sure to include a description of how your program would individualize transition plans for these children.

The Policy or Statement Builder provides a step-by-step guide for creating your statement.






Transition Plans

Transition can be defined as moving from one setting or event to the next. Transitions occur as children move between home settings and child care programs, between child care programs and school-age programs, during the day from one activity to another, and year-to-year from one age group or classroom to another. For young children, the transition from an early childhood setting to school is a milestone in their educational careers.

A transition plan includes the written policies and procedures for supporting children and families during transition periods. These plans provide a consistent process for all children and families and are individualized to meet the specific transition needs of each child and family. Transition plans are especially important for children with special health care needs or disabilities since their individual plans may involve other professionals or routines that are essential to the children’s health and successful outcomes.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Your program’s transition plans statement clearly describes policies and procedures for:

  • Children’s transitions upon enrollment (from home to your program)
  • Children’s transitions within your program (between age groups or classrooms)
  • Children’s transitions from your program to school settings
  • Individualized transition plans based on a child’s developmental or special health care needs, or disability
 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

Read the transition plans statement as if you were enrolling your child in a program. Consider underlining or numbering sentences that describe the specific steps your program takes to ensure smooth and successful transitions for children and families. Is it clear how important information about a child’s background, interests, preferences, strengths, and needs are communicated to the adults receiving the child? Your program’s plan should offer reassurance that children and families are well cared for during each phase of a transition (planning, preparation, actual transition, and follow-up after a transition).

 

Where can you learn more?

These brief articles from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) provide information you may find helpful in reviewing your transition plan or developing a plan for children and families in your program.

Moving On: Supportive Transition for Infants and Toddlers

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Starting Child Care: It’s a Transition for Parents, Too

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Zero to Three provides families with a timeline for successfully transitioning children to preschool.

Preschool Prep: How to Prepare Your Toddler for Preschool

Preschool Prep: How to Prepare Your Toddler for Preschool

Learn what you can do to make this big transition to preschool easier for your child. You'll find a timeline for all the things that need to be done to prepare for preschool and guidance on saying a "good good-bye" on your child's first day.






Policy or Statement Builder

This interactive helps you write a statement that describes your program’s transition plans. You have the option of emailing your responses to yourself and editing your final statement before uploading it to the Maryland EXCELS System. Writing your responses in full sentences now gives you a head-start for editing your statement later.

 

Build-A-Policy: Transition Plans

Final Touches

Check your statement as you prepare to upload it to the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Check to be sure your evidence includes:

Your program's transition plans and procedures for:

 
 
 
 

Remember, even if no children with special needs are currently enrolled in your program, your statement must include how transition plans are individualized to meet each child's needs.

 

Save your document:

  • Use a file name that you can find easily when you upload it to the system. (example: transition-plans.docx)
  • Use any one of these formats:
    • Typed electronic version of your statement (examples: Microsoft Word, PDF)
    • Scanned versions of your statement (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)
    • Identified section within your handbook (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)

Next Steps

Use the following guide to upload your documentation, look ahead, and think about a plan for ongoing improvement.

 

Step 1: Prepare to Upload Your Document

  • Locate your username and password for logging into your Maryland EXCELS account
  • Locate the document you saved on the computer
 

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

Does your program have policies for sharing children's developmental and assessment data as part of a transition process? If so, your statement may meet the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Transition Plans: ADM 15.4 and ADM 15.5.

Plan for Improvement

Set a goal to learn about the benefits of sharing assessment data as part of the transition process for children. Follow up with families of children who have transitioned from your setting into another setting or program. Ask for feedback on what aspects of your transition plan were most helpful and what aspects could be improved. Remember to update and upload any new information to the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (ADM 15.3)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload your statement describing your program's transition plans.

Remember, your plans must include a description of how transition plans are individualized for children, particularly those with special health care needs or disabilities. Even if no children with special needs are currently enrolled in your program, your statement must include a description of how your program meets the individual needs of children and families.

screenshot of Maryland EXCELS upload screen with a comment box
Upload Documentation