Educators Develop Their Own Tool to Make Kindergarten Transition Easier


By Karma Hugo
Early Learning Director
Northwest Educational Service District

Over the last several years, more than 1,200 preK-to-third-grade educators in the northwest region of Washington have engaged in a widespread, collaborative approach to joint professional development. One of the exciting outcomes of this collaboration has been the creation of a regional transition form.
In March 2012, 42 preK and kindergarten teachers convened with the idea of developing a tool that could be shared from teacher to teacher in order to bridge systems as children transitioned from preschool to kindergarten. They also wanted something that would help maintain a commitment to the shared literacy practices they learned together. What they created was a transition form.
PreK teachers use the transition form to target key areas of development throughout the year. They also share the form with families to help them see what skills their children are developing for school readiness. In a survey conducted by the Opportunity Council, families named transition forms as one of the top supports provided by their Head Start and ECEAP classrooms. Kindergarten teachers and administrators use the form to learn about the children who would be starting kindergarten in the fall and to prepare to best support them.
During the past three years, teachers throughout the region have been using this form. Each year they have provided feedback to improve it. Last year, preK teachers shared 570 transition forms with 13 school districts across the region. Teachers recognized the power of their collaborative effort. PreK teacher Shayne King described it well when she said, “The more that we talk and collaborate and have common goals — as teachers, educators, directors, school districts — the more alignment we will have that will benefit all of our children.”
To hear Shayne and other teachers and administrators talk about their collaboration, check out the Connecting PreK & Kindergarten video on the P-3 Alignment page of the Northwest Educational Service District 189 website.

The northwest region, which includes Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties, is also participating in a statewide transition form pilot that was developed in April by community representatives throughout the state. Feedback from the pilot will be collected and shared this fall to help our state strengthen communication pathways among preschool/child care environments and kindergarten classrooms in all regions. It will also allow us to learn more about how to increase support for kindergarten readiness for all stakeholders. We are excited to see what develops!