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Marketplace - Transitions During the Early Years

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As children grow and develop, they and their families navigate new experiences and milestones. Transition to kindergarten is a significant milestone for the family unit and sets the foundation for future social-emotional growth and academic success. As early childhood champions, we understand that this can be both an exciting and overwhelming journey. That’s why we’ve created a collection of resources to support children, families, the sending side (early care and education mixed delivery system), and the receiving side (kindergarten teachers and administration) during this important transition period.

Whether you’re a family looking for information on how to support your child during the transition to kindergarten process, or representatives of the “sending” and/or “receiving” sides, this webpage contains a collection of valuable information and resources.

Our goal is to empower families and professionals with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure children and their families experience a smooth and successful transition throughout the early childhood years, including into kindergarten. We recognize the pivotal role you play in shaping children’s early learning years. Together we can empower adults and young learners to thrive as they embark on this exciting new chapter in their educational journey.

This work is supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5), Grant Number 90TP0054, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
 

Ready Families and Communities 

Families are their children’s advocates and first teachers, playing a vital role in nurturing their development from infancy to adulthood. Through every stage of growth, families are instrumental in guiding children through many milestones and transitions. From birth to adulthood, parents are involved in fostering their children's early experiences, providing safe, stable and nurturing environments as the foundational supports necessary for healthy development.

Communities play a crucial role in supporting families in their efforts to raise children. By providing access to resources, communities can empower families to navigate the challenges and celebrate the joys of parenthood. Strengthening partnerships between families and communities can enhance the collective effort to promote positive outcomes for children.

On this page, there are resources aimed at equipping families and communities to support children as they transition through early care and education settings while preparing for kindergarten and beyond.

The PLAYbook: Learning Through Play for Colorado’s Families and Caregivers

Children are curious about how the world around them works. That is why they learn best through play and exploration. This learning begins long before children enter kindergarten, making early experiences important for future success. No matter the role we have in a child’s life – whether as parents, teachers, child care providers or involved relatives, friends, or neighbors– we all play an important part in their development.

The PLAYbook describes a child’s learning and development from birth to 5 years old and provides practical tips and fun activities that anyone can use to support young children’s healthy development.

The PLAYbook is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Karen (Burmese), and Somali.

Playbook Covers

Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions

In partnership with Marzano Research, the Colorado Department of Early Childhood developed the Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions resource. The development of the resource was guided by an advisory group comprised of family members who have children with special health conditions and subject matter experts in education, early childhood, healthcare, and early childhood mental health. The resource is intended for families, caregivers, and educators in early care and education settings, who need to share information to support children with special health conditions. Special health care conditions may include but are not limited to: 

  • Severe food allergies
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Seizure disorders 
  • Concussion
  • Headache/Migraine
  • Juvenile Arthritis

Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions - Digital Version - Available in English and Spanish.
Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions - Print Version - Available in English and Spanish.


Colorado Early Learning & Development Guidelines

The Colorado Early Learning & Development Guidelines outline children's developmental trajectory from birth to 8 years old, covering various domains such as approaches to learning, health, social-emotional development, language, literacy, numeracy, logic, and reasoning. These guidelines promote collaboration and consistency across early childhood systems. They aim to support families, caregivers, and educators by offering a common reference point for children's development, fostering positive early childhood environments critical for future success.

The Guidelines are available in both English and Spanish languages.

Click here for more information on the Early Learning & Development Guidelines.

Transitions to Kindergarten: Timeline and Checklist

Each year, children and families transition to kindergarten from various early care and education settings, including home- and center-based child care, PreK, Head Start, and family, friend and neighbor (FFN) care. This transition period is crucial for long-term school success but can be uncertain for both children and their families. Successful transitions require engagement and collaboration between early care and education programs (the "sending" side) and elementary schools (the "receiving" side).

In partnership with the National P-3 Center, CDEC developed the Transitions to Kindergarten: Timeline and Checklist to provide key strategies for both sides to implement throughout the year to support successful transitions to kindergarten. Activities range from ongoing efforts to those with specific timeframes, including before and after kindergarten begins. The tool serves as a resource for planning, monitoring, and improving transition efforts.

Transitions to Kindergarten: Timeline and Checklist - Available in English and Spanish.

Additional Resources

  • The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Kindergarten Family Resource webpage contains resources for families looking for information on kindergarten in Colorado. These webpages provide a statewide lens on kindergarten, information to answer frequently asked questions, and resources promoting the importance of family-school partnerships and the value of kindergarten.
  • CDE’s Kindergarten Enrollment Policy, Research, and Resources brief highlights the importance of policy and research as resources for districts to engage families in enrollment and entry decisions for the upcoming academic year.
Ready Programs
Transition to Kindergarten in Colorado Cover

Transitions to Kindergarten in Colorado: A Roadmap

CDEC in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education and the National P-3 Center developed the Transitions to Kindergarten in Colorado: A Roadmap to enhance collaboration between early care and education and K-12 systems at both state and local levels to facilitate smoother transitions for children and families from preschool to kindergarten.

Transitions to Kindergarten Toolkit

The Transitions to Kindergarten Toolkit complements the Transitions to Kindergarten in Colorado: A Roadmap by offering specific strategies to aid communities in facilitating smooth transitions for children between early care and education and kindergarten (K-12) systems. It aims to bridge the gap between these two systems by establishing shared goals and language. The toolkit provides research-based strategies to ensure that all children and families experience smooth transitions to kindergarten.

The toolkit includes the following resources and much more:

  • Communication Tool - Supports coordinated, consistent messaging and strategies about the transition to kindergarten.
  • Professional Development Tool - Provides an overview of Transitions to Kindergarten in Colorado: A Roadmap and research about how effective transitions to kindergarten contribute to positive outcomes for children and their families. This editable tool is for communities to use in their communication regarding transitions. 
  • System Resources Tool - Includes a curated collection of resources and templates created by other communities across the United States to support strategic planning related to kindergarten transitions.

Supporting Children and Families’ Transitions to Kindergarten Briefs

In partnership with the National P-3 Center and the Colorado Department of Education, CDEC developed briefs exploring practices that contribute to successful transitions to kindergarten for children and families. These resources provide strategies for early care and education programs and elementary schools in Colorado to implement and support smooth transitions to kindergarten. Two of the three briefs are also available in Spanish.

  • Supporting Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness - Available in English and Spanish
  • Supporting Children and Families in Migrant and Seasonal Communities - Available in English and Spanish
  • Supporting Native American Children and Families - Available in English

Transitions to Kindergarten: Timeline and Checklist

Each year, children and families transition to kindergarten from various early care and education settings, including home- and center-based child care, PreK, Head Start, and family, friend and neighbor (FFN) care. This transition period is crucial for long-term school success but can be uncertain for both children and their families. Successful transitions require engagement and collaboration between early care and education programs (the "sending" side) and elementary schools (the "receiving" side).

In partnership with the National P-3 Center, CDEC developed the Transitions to Kindergarten: Timeline and Checklist to provide key strategies for both sides to implement throughout the year to support successful transitions to kindergarten. Activities range from ongoing efforts to those with specific timeframes, including before and after kindergarten begins. The tool serves as a resource for planning, monitoring, and improving transition efforts.

Transitions to Kindergarten: Timeline and Checklist - Available in English and Spanish.

Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions

In partnership with Marzano Research, the Colorado Department of Early Childhood developed the Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions resource. The development of the resource was guided by an advisory group comprised of family members who have children with special health conditions and subject matter experts in education, early childhood, healthcare, and early childhood mental health. The resource is intended for families, caregivers, and educators in early care and education settings, who need to share information to support children with special health conditions. Special health care conditions may include but are not limited to: 

  • Severe food allergies
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Seizure disorders 
  • Concussion
  • Headache/Migraine
  • Juvenile Arthritis

Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions - Digital Version - Available in English and Spanish
Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions - Print Version - Available in English and Spanish.

Please complete this form to request print copies of the Supporting Children with Special Health Conditions resource. *Note: We will do our best to accommodate your request within the limits of our printing budget.

21 Transitions Practices

The 21 Transition Practices document outlines transition practices essential for effective transition planning. These practices cover coordination and collaboration, program implementation, and family involvement. Key elements include identifying a primary contact person for transition, specifying referral, enrollment, and eligibility processes, ensuring staff are knowledgeable about community resources, conducting individual transition planning and meetings, providing opportunities for children to practice skills, and supporting staff communication. Additionally, it emphasizes assessing families' needs, involving them in planning, linking them with resources, and engaging them in evaluating their child's development and growth.

Kindergarten Enrollment Policy, Research, and Resources

The Colorado Department of Education Kindergarten Enrollment Policy, Research, and Resources brief highlights the importance of policy and research as resources for districts to engage families in enrollment and entry decisions for the upcoming academic year.

Transitions to Kindergarten: A Synthesis of Federal and State Policies

The Transitions to Kindergarten: A Synthesis of Federal and State Policies assesses kindergarten transition policies within a logical framework that emphasizes the impact of effective transition practices on family and child outcomes. The efficacy and likelihood of these practices are influenced by the policies, supports, and strategies within early care and education and K-12 systems. 

Stay Connected With Us

If you have a suggestion for a topic area we haven’t covered or a general inquiry, please submit your suggestions to the Transitions to Kindergarten Resources Inquiry Form. We welcome all questions and feedback.


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