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Transitions Matter

Transitions are an important developmental milestone for young children and families. Research and experiences continue to show long-term positive outcomes that can be linked to the quality and effectiveness of young children’s transition experiences.

Most frequently cited outcomes include:

  • Better behavioral and social-emotional adjustment
  • Higher academic achievement
  • Increased family involvement (Rimm-Kayfman, et al.)

Transitions provide many opportunities for learning and challenges. As children and families make the move they must negotiate numerous changes including: a new physical learning environment, new teachers and friends, and new routines and expectations. Receiving the necessary support while transitioning can have a powerful effect on children’s later school academic success and life outcomes.

This is why Guilford Child Development has created a transition program to insure that children have smooth transitions from early learning classrooms to preschool and from preschool to kindergarten.

Transition Activities Take Place Over Time

It takes a team approach to insure that children and families experience smooth and stress-free transitions. At Guilford Child Development, multiple Head Start positions assist with the process: center directors, family advocates, the family child care homes director, center teachers, and home-based staff are all active supporters in the transitioning process.

Best Practices/Transition Strategies: Meeting with Staff

  • There are ongoing meetings with center directors and family advocates to discuss the Transition Process and to ensure that their families are engaged in the transition process.
  • The Public School Liaison makes classroom visits to ensure that classroom staff are familiar with transition information.
  • GCD staff receive a Connection Timeline with on-going activities to support their families as they move through transitions; and we work to connect children, school, families and the community together to ensure children and families are making smooth transitions.

Meeting with Families to Discuss School Readiness

Family meetings take place at the child development centers. At this time resources are discussed and shared with families, including the dates for community-wide events.

Resources and Handouts Shared

  • Ways to Help Your Child Get Ready for Kindergarten – Developmentally Appropriate Practices
  • 7 Tips Preparing for Transition – Seven developmental practices to making a smooth transition to the new learning environment.
  • Bus Safety – Children and families receive tips on how to be safe on and near school bus, bus behavior, walk safely crossing street, practice getting on and off the bus safety and learn the role of the bus.

Events Families Can Attend

  • Magnet Schools Showcase – Families gather at the Greensboro Coliseum to visit booths for each magnet school of interest. They get to meet and have conversations with the school’s principal and staff and to discuss the curriculum.
  • School Choice Week – Families come together at GCD’s child development centers to discuss the benefits of school choice and resources from traditional public schools, magnet schools, public charter schools, private schools, and online and home schooling. This is in line with a national event.
  • Let’s Share Fair - This is a partnership with Guilford County Schools and Guilford Child Development. GCD has representatives from each of Guilford County Schools’ departments (ex. transportation, exceptional children, etc.) that come to this event at Guilford Child Development so families and center staff can meet school department staff and learn more on the transition to kindergarten process including how to register for services.

Activities for the Children/Families

  • Early Head Start Staggered Day Activities – Developmentally appropriate daily staggered activities are shared and experienced by the children, family and teachers. The activities offer opportunities for children, families and teachers to build relationships, and play with friends as they learn the new learning environment and prepare to move from an Early Head Start classroom (0-2 years old) to a Head Start classroom (3-4 years old).
  • Partner with Elementary School for a Visit – GCD children and families visit an elementary school for a tour, meet the principal and kindergarten staff, participate in a kindergarten classroom visit specials, and visit the cafeteria.
  • Partner with an Elementary School to attend a developmental school event beyond the kindergarten class visit (ex. a school play) to build relationships and familiarity with public schools.
  • Kindergarten Here We Come! – A newsletter GCD created for families to share resources about making a smooth transition between Early Head Start and Head Start or from Head Start to kindergarten.
  • Preparing for Transitioning Booklist – A partnership with the Public Library - This booklist is shared with families as well as practices on using story time with children to assist with the transition to a new learning environment. Books on the booklist can be checked out of the public library. Families are encouraged to get a Library Card and join a story-time group for read aloud story time activities over the summer.

Kindergarten Registration

March 1st is the opening date for Guilford County Schools Kindergarten Registration. Family advocates receive the Guilford County Schools registration instructions to assist families in gathering documents necessary for completing the kindergartner registration packet for the school their child will attend in the fall.

Guilford Child Development Registration

GCD accepts registration packets for children ages 0-4 year round, with an emphasis in March-May to register children for the upcoming school year. Contact our Family Services Specialists for more information

More Resources

Guilford County Schools Departments


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