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Transitioning from Preschool to Kindergarten: Navigating the Journey from CPSE to CSE

The transition from preschool to kindergarten marks a significant milestone in a child's educational journey. For families with children receiving services through the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), this transition involves navigating the shift to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) as their child enters kindergarten. Understanding this process and supporting children through the transition is crucial for ensuring a smooth and successful start to their school years.

Understanding the Transition

The transition from CPSE to CSE entails a shift in the way services are provided and coordinated for children with special needs. While CPSE focuses on early intervention and services for children ages 3 to 5, CSE oversees special education services for school-aged children, including those entering kindergarten.

Key Considerations

1. Transition Planning: Transition planning begins well before a child enters kindergarten. It involves collaboration between families, early intervention providers, preschool teachers, and school district representatives to ensure continuity of services and support. Here is the NYS information packet regarding the transitioning process, both from EI to CPSE, and CPSE to CSE. While this particular document is specific to NY, the process is similar throughout the states. However, please check with your local DOE for more specific info.

2. Evaluation Process: As children transition from preschool to kindergarten, they may undergo reevaluation to determine their eligibility for continued special education services. This evaluation helps identify the child's strengths, needs, and appropriate services for the kindergarten setting. The NYS DOE outlines the evaluation process as well as the key points in this guide. individual state guidelines may differ, so please utilize local resources for information specific to your area.

3. Individualized Education Program (IEP): The development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a cornerstone of the transition process. The IEP outlines specific goals, accommodations, and services tailored to meet the child's unique needs in the kindergarten setting.

4. Parental Involvement: Parents play a vital role in advocating for their child's needs during the transition process. Open communication with educators and service providers helps ensure that the child's transition is supported effectively.

Daniel tiger at school in kindergarten

Supporting Children and Families

1. Transition Activities: Engaging children in transition activities helps familiarize them with the kindergarten environment and routines. School visits, orientation sessions, and social stories can help alleviate anxiety and build confidence.

2. Building Relationships: Developing positive relationships with kindergarten teachers, support staff, and peers is essential for children transitioning from preschool. Encouraging social interactions and fostering a sense of belonging in the classroom can ease the transition process. It is also helpful for children to have a friend to enter the new setting with. Try to schedule play dates with your child's new classmates prior to the start of school. A friendly face in a strange place is always comforting.

3. Continuity of Services: Ensuring continuity of services and supports is critical during the transition. Collaborating with CSE to implement the child's IEP goals and accommodations in the kindergarten setting promotes consistency and enhances the child's learning experience.

4. Empowering Families: Providing families with information, resources, and support networks empowers them to navigate the transition process effectively. Workshops, support groups, and access to community services can help families feel informed and empowered as they support their child's educational journey.

The transition from preschool to kindergarten is a milestone filled with excitement, anticipation, and perhaps some apprehension. For children receiving services through CPSE, the transition to CSE represents a new chapter in their educational journey—one filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and development. By understanding the transition process, fostering collaboration among stakeholders, and prioritizing the needs of the child and family, we can ensure a seamless and successful transition to kindergarten and beyond.

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