Posted 8/30/11

Planning and communication are essential to provide a smooth and timely transition for children with exceptional needs leaving infant/toddler programs and entering preschool special education services at age three to five. The Contra Costa SELPA has entered into coordinated partnerships with neighboring service providers of infant/toddlers. This partnership supports a cohesive, collaborative, and timely transition which allows several systems and various agencies to sustain an efficient process. It is imperative that families provide consent/release to exchange information between the sending and receiving agencies including their school district. In addition, transition for children moving from preschool to school-age programs will require a similar level of coordination and collaboration between families, local educational agencies, special education local plan areas, regional centers, and other community agencies in order to ensure a smooth transition for the child entering kindergarten.
Individual Transition Planning for Infant/Toddler to Preschool Services
Individuals with exceptional needs between the ages of three and five years who are identified by their school district as requiring special education and services are eligible for special education and services.
Six months before the toddler's third birthday a representative from the Infant/Toddler Program shall notify the parents and the school district/local education agency (LEA) that there will be a transition planning meeting within the next 3 months. The purpose of this meeting will be to consider the appropriate process to transition the child from an early intervention service to a preschool service. This transition plan is for the coordination of assessment for determining special education eligibility and to provide parents with information regarding the continuum of educational service options in their school district. Whenever possible the transition plan will be developed by both agencies and the family at a meeting, and will include a proposed date for the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting conducted by the school district. The proposed IEP date will allow sufficient time to enable the eligible student to begin school services on his/her third birthday, or as soon after that birth date as school is in session. Assessment data obtained by one agency will be made available to the other agency, with parental consent. Between 2 years, 9 months and 2 years, 11 months of age, an IEP will be prepared and completed for implementation at age three (3).
For Infants referred to the Regional Center at age 2 years, 6 months and after, with parental consent, the LEA shall be invited to participate in the initial assessment. For Infants referred to the Regional Center for services after the age of 2 years, 9 months, the Regional Center may, with consent of the family, forward the referral to the LEA for assessment and service, rather than conduct the assessment and transition planning meeting.

Timeline for a Child Referred for Special Education Services Prior to Age Three

By 2 years of age: Infant/Toddler Program Provider identifies Transition steps and those are defined in the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Parental consent/release to exchange information between the Sending agency (Infant/Toddler Program) and Receiving agency (school district).

2 years 6 months to 2 years 9 months: Infant Program Provider is to notify the parent of a toddler who may be eligible for special education that transition planning will occur within the next 3 to 6 months. With parent consent, the Infant Program Provider will notify the school district of a mutually agreed upon date for a meeting to identify and outline the transition steps.

2 years 6 months to 2 years 9 months: The Transition planning meeting is held to document the actual transition steps to be coordinated between the infant/toddler program providers and the preschool team by determining suspected areas of disability, coordination of assessment and to answer parent questions regarding the transition process.

2 years 9 months to 2 years 11 months: School district staff (preschool team) completes assessments.

By 3 years of age: Convene an IEP meeting to review assessment results and eligibility for special education services.

3 years of age: For eligible students services begin in an educational setting focused on developing kindergarten readiness.

Individual Transition Planning for Preschool to School-Age Programs
Prior to transitioning a child with exceptional needs from a preschool program to kindergarten or first grade as the case may be, an appropriate reassessment shall be completed to determine if the child continues to require special education services. It is important that the gains made during an early intervention program not be lost by too rapid a removal of support. (Ed. Code, sec. 56327, 56445)

  • Prior to kindergarten, or first grade as the case may be, an assessment must be completed.
  • The personnel who assess the pupil shall prepare a written report, or reports, of the results of each assessment.
  • For children who are determined to be eligible for special education, information regarding present levels of performance should be noted in the written report.
  • For children who are determined to be no longer eligible for special education, information regarding present levels of performance and learning style shall be noted by the IEP team and communicated to the regular education kindergarten teacher.
  • If appropriate, a means of monitoring continued success of the child should be identified by the IEP team for those children in kindergarten who are eligible for less intensive special education services.

    To insure a successful transition for children remaining in an intensive special education placement the following steps should be followed:
  • Inform parents of the transition process and timelines including the school calendar.
  • Inform the LEA contact person of the need for transition coordination.
  • Hold an IEP meeting prior to Kindergarten or first grade placement.
  • Assist the family with registration packets.
  • Assist the family with changes in transportation, if applicable.

Special Education Program Similarities

Early Start Programs
Preschool Programs
Services are usually provided at home or center Services are usually provided in a classroom Services are usually provided in a classroom
Students have an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) with outcomes for both the child and family Students have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with goal/s for the child only Students have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with annual goal/s for the child only
  You will receive regular reporting of progress on your child's IEP annual goal/s You will receive regular reporting of progress on your child's IEP annual goal/s
    You will receive report cards indicating educational progress
    Homework might be assigned on a regular basis

Click here to download and print "Procedures Guide-Preschool"