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Early Years

During the early years the educational journey has its own unique transition challenges. It is all in the planning! And it is also helpful to think through what the child, teachers, AND parents might need to make this transition successful. Each child is different, so plan as much or as little as you need to based on the unique needs of the child, educators, and parents involved. On our GEMSS site, some specific conditions have more details on transition than others due to particular unique needs.


  • Minimize the impact of a change by turning it into smaller steps.
  • Well before the transition is to take place, take pictures of the new place, new people. Weave them into stories with pictures and use the stories at school and at home.
  • Have the child visit the new place several/many times if you need to.
    • Play in the playground
    • Visit the classroom
    • Use the bathrooms/changing area
    • Have the child take pictures of the new spots and make a story
    • Visit the school nurse
    • Eat and play with people there
  • Enhance relationships
    • Encourage play time with children who are also moving through the transition at home and school
    • Have parents and educators meet beforehand, maybe over several sessions.
  • Plan for all the needs of the child: safety, health, communication, therapeutic, social, academic, etc.
  • Start in the early years by helping children develop their ability to make choices, an important building block for making independent decisions in the future, both educational and health-related.
  • Begin to “establish an identity” by helping children develop an awareness for what they like and dislike, etc.