For many families understanding the transition from Pre-School to Kindergarten can be an adventure. This can be even more challenging if your child receives special education services. You don’t necessarily know where to begin. We’ll lay out a few helpful tips for getting started so you can rest easy knowing you’ll have your ducks in a row when your child turns 5 and enters the “big kid” world of elementary school!
1. Reach out to the school well in advance: Your child may not be scheduled for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) before school starts, but there are certain things that you can have in place even before the IEP team meets to set goals. For example, if your child will need a one on one aide or special transportation services, you can talk to your child’s special education teacher to see what can be done to get the ball rolling. Depending on the school’s summer schedule, you may reach out to the office staff there or the support services specialists at the central office.
2. Attend any family events: Most schools will hold a parent information night for rising kindergarten families in the Spring of the year before your child will start school there. Be on the lookout for that information – watch the school’s calendar on their website – so you can attend and become familiar with the school, principal, teachers and staff. This is a great way to start letting everyone at the school know about you and you child and any accommodations you anticipate your child will need when they start school.
3. Complete all registration forms on time: Many districts have started offering online registration. If your school doesn’t offer that yet, make sure you stop by the office and pick up the packet of paperwork you’ll need to fill out. This allows the school to have an accurate record of students who will be joining them in the Fall and gives them an opportunity to start preparing for any special education services and accommodations your child may need.
4. Have your child’s medical records ready: Before your child starts elementary school, most of the qualifying diagnoses may be medical, so it will be important to bring those records with you. These can be helpful in writing goals and identifying needed accommodations for your child. The school will typically do their own evaluations and share the results with you. You may have had private evaluations and assessments done as well. Be sure to share all your evaluation reports with your school so the IEP Team has lots of information to make the best plan possible for your child’s education.
We hope that these tips help set you off in the right direction as you prepare your child for kindergarten. If you have any questions or would like to mention other helpful tips, you can leave them in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.
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