The administrator of a childcare program shares her perspective on the transition of a child with disabilities into her program (running time: 1 min. 38 sec.).
I welcome Tamiya and her family into our program. I credit my staff with making it possible for us to serve such a diverse group of families. Their energy, their commitment to inclusion, and their willingness to learn are what make this all work.
But transition is a particularly stressful time for children, families and teachers, and this is the first time our program has served a child with this level of health needs. So it is important that we have good transition procedures in place. Typically we set up a visit first for the family to come without the child, so there are no distractions and they can get all their questions answered. Then we have them bring the child and invite a friend or family member whose opinion they respect. Depending upon the family’s comfort level, we encourage them to leave the child on the playground while they come into the office to do paperwork; but we always follow the parent’s lead. If the parents’ schedule allows, we have found that a staggered entrance or abbreviated hours to start is helpful.
I want to make sure that I involve the classroom team in the transition planning and that their concerns are addressed. I’ll need to make sure they have adequate time and coverage for some professional development if they need it. I also want to ensure that the staff begins to develop a strong relationship with the child and family as soon as possible. Melanie, Tamiya’s teacher, asked me about making a home visit; she said Tamiya’s mother really hoped that could happen. That is not a typical procedure but in this case it could be important. Being flexible and ensuring that everyone feels supported is the key to making any transition work.