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Welcome to Transitions

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Professional Development for Pre-K Educators

Department of EducationThis resource page, together with professional development workshops held across New York City on April 23, 2015, are part of a collaboration between Bank Street College of Education and the New York City Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Education to design professional development that equips Pre-K for All educators with the knowledge and skills to support student learning based on the Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core Learning Standards.

Why Transitions?

This workshop addresses transitions as times in children’s lives when the routines, expectations, and environments change. Supporting children during transitions has been shown to help children take better advantage of learning opportunities and can increase the likelihood of children’s social, emotional, and academic success. Research demonstrates that well planned transitions support all children, but children who are at increased social and emotional risk benefit the most from effective transitions. Effective transitions are important opportunities for growth and development. Using information obtained through Authentic Assessments, conversations with families, and student progress in the Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core, teachers can support students during these exciting, as well as challenging times.

Planning a Beginning or End of the Year Transition

Use this guide to plan a developmentally appropriate transition that uses Authentic Assessment information, promotes learning through the PKFCC, and considers the needs of children, families, and educators.

Additional Resources

Read-Aloud Books About Transitions

Here are some suggested books for transitioning to kindergarten and for saying goodbye and reflecting on the end of the school year.

Books about saying goodbye/reflecting on the school year

  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  • Un Beso en Mi Mano by Audrey Penn
  • Oh No! Time to Go! A Book of Goodbyes by Rebecca Doughty
  • Hello! Goodbye! By Aliki
  • Kiss Hello, Kiss Goodbye by Marc Brown
  • City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems
  • Amos and Boris by William Steig
  • Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Patridge by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas
  • A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
  • The Last Day blues by Julie Danneberg
  • You Go Away by Dorothy Corey
  • On the Way to Kindergarten by Virginia Kroll
  • Friends at School by Rochelle Bunnett

Books about Kindergarten

  • A Place Called Kindergarten by Jessica Harper
  • Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee
  • First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
  • I am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child
  • Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson
  • Preparate, kindergarten! Alla voy! 
by Nancy Carlson
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate and 
Ashley Wol
  • Que Nervios! El Primer Dia de Escuela by Julie Danneberg
  • Welcome to Kindergarten by Anne Rockwell
  • Will I Have a Friend? By Miriam Cohen
  • Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis
  • Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
  • Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
  • Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis
  • A Place Called Kindergarten by Jessica Harper
  • How Will I Get To School This Year? By Jerry Pallotta
  • When You Go to Kindergarten by James Howe
  • Kindergarten Countdown by Anna Jane Hays
  • The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
  • Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London
  • Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! By Hyewon Yum
  • Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? By Audrey Vernick

Professional Books About Transitions

Koplow, L. (2007). Unsmiling Faces: How Preschools Can Heal. New York: Teachers College Press.

Lesley Koplow, LCSW and Director of the Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice, provides early childhood professionals with a framework for understanding the emotional lives of young children. Three curriculums included in the book are particularly relevant when thinking about end of the year transitions: "Boats and Bridges," "Planting and Growing, and "Old School/New School." Another curriculum, "Some Things Change, Some Things Stay the Same" helps children to process change.

Pianta, R. C., & Kraft-Sayre, M. (2003). Successful kindergarten transition: Your guide to connecting children, families, and schools. Baltimore: Brookes.

This book describes a developmental, ecological, and collaborative model of transitions and how to put this model into action. The book included quotes from families and educators and case write-ups to make concrete the experience of these groups during transitions.

Professional Articles About Transitions

Avalos-Snyder, C & Haugen, K. (2014). Supporting Successful Transitions to Kindergarten for Children with Special Needs. Exchange.

This article includes a variety of considerations for transitioning children with special needs to kindergarten. An reference list is included for further research.

Bohan-Baker, M., & Little, P. M. D. (2002). The transition to kindergarten: A review of current research and promising practices to involve families. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.

This brief includes research on children's transition to kindergarten as well as strategies that can help facilitate that transition.

Colker, L. J. (2009) Getting Ready for Readiness: Helping Preschoolers Make the Transition to Kindergarten. Teaching Young Children 2(3). Washington: NAEYC, 24-27. 

This article is full of practical suggestions for helping preschoolers transition to kindergarten.

Jones, D. (2010). Letting My Butterflies Go: Helping Children Move on to Kindergarten. Teaching Young Children 3(4). Washington: NAEYC, 21-22. 

The author describes a variety of activities that help children end the PreK year and understand the transition to kindergarten, including ideas for supporting Dual Language Learners.

Kielty, M., Sancho Passe, A., & Mayle, S. R. (2013). Transitions to Kindergarten. Teaching Young Children, 6(4). Washington: NAEYC, 8-9. 

This article is full of practical ideas for teachers helping children to transition to kindergarten, including strategies for supporting Dual Language Learners.

Practical Guides For Educators

Get Ready for Kindergarten! Activity Calendar for Teachers

This interactive transitions calendar, available on the Head Start website, is an excellent planning tool for transitions throughout the year. It offers suggestions and tips for supporting school readiness and transitions throughout the pre-K year, including helping children return from long school holidays and preparing families to make the transition to kindergarten.

Saying Goodbye: End of the Year Transitions

Published by the Southern Early Childhood Association, this one page handout includes ideas for teachers and families to help children say goodbye at the end of the preschool year. There is a separate section with considerations for Dual Language Learners.

8x End of the Year Celebrations

This guide, published by NAEYC in Teaching Young Children, includes a variety of ideas for celebrating the end of the school year in a developmentally appropriate way, including many ideas that include families.

Starting Kindergarten

This guide, published by NAEYC in Teaching Young Children, is a handout for parents with ideas for helping children with end of the year feelings and kindergarten transition feelings. It is available in English and Spanish.


Responsive Classroom

The Responsive Classroom is an evidence based approach which links responsiveness to improved outcomes. The Responsive Classroom website has a variety of practical ideas and strategies to build social and emotional competence in children and in teachers. Here is one specific resource for saying goodbye at the end of the year; the website is worth browsing for other strategies and activities to promote responsive teaching:

Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC)

A variety of resources are available at this website organized by the Office of Head Start, including:

Resources To Share With Parents

Exploring Children’s Social-Emotional Wellness: Saying Goodbye to a Friend or Teacher. 

Published by the Capital District Child Care Council, this one page tipsheet provides concrete strategies for families who are helping a child say goodbye to a friend or teacher. The ideas are easily translatable to and end of the year goodbye.

Getting to Know My Child: A Guide For My Child’s Kindergarten Teacher

Published by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, this guide provides a structured format for families to share information about their child. The guide could also be used for a child changing schools in the middle of the year or any time a child is transitioning into a new classroom.

A Parent’s Guide to a Successful Kindergarten Transition. 

Published by the National Education Association, this guide provides practical tips for parents on transitioning children to kindergarten. There is a separate section on transitioning preschoolers with special needs.

A Parent’s Guide to the Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core

This one-page document summarizes the PKFCC for parents.