Transitions: Analyze Enrollment

Transitions allow for continuity of services when a child moves from one program or location to another. These changes are not done arbitrarily, but rather, when it is deemed best for the family. Examples of transitions include moving from Early Head Start to Head Start, Head Start to kindergarten, and from one Head Start program to another. Each program needs a process for transitions to ensure that families experiencing homelessness receive the support and services they need for smooth transitions.

Mario's Story

In two months, Mario will turn 3-years-old. Mario and his family only speak Spanish. They are in a homeless situation and Mario is currently in the Ivy Early Head Start program. Think about how you would plan for Mario's transition to a Head Start program, and then find out what the Ivy Early Head Start program did to help with Mario's transition.

What the Ivy Early Head Start program did for Mario's transition

To ensure continuity of services, the Ivy Early Head Start program did the following to support Mario's transition:

  • Explained the transition process to the family;
  • Arranged for Mario and his family to visit the new Head Start program and accompanied them on the visit;
  • Maintained a relationship with the family by setting up some future times to meet;
  • Introduced Mario and his family to his new teacher;
  • Gave the family a transition booklet in Spanish with contact numbers and helpful hints; and
  • Arranged for the language needs of the family to be met.

Lisette's Story

Lisette's family is experiencing homelessness and recently enrolled Lisette in the Spruce Head Start program. Lisette is almost 5-years-old and she has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) because of her hearing impairment. Think about how you would plan for Lisette's transition to kindergarten and then read what the Spruce Head Start program did to help with Lisette's transition.

What the Spruce Head Start program did for Lisette's transition

To ensure continuity of services, the Spruce Head Start program did the following to support Lisette’s transition to kindergarten:

  • Discussed Lisette's situation with the new school and the kindergarten teacher;
  • Talked with the local homeless liaison at the new school;
  • Arranged for Lisette and her family to visit and spend a day in kindergarten and accompanied the family on their visit;;
  • Encouraged the family to keep in touch and contact Spruce Head Start if they have questions or need help; and
  • Provided Lisette's IEP and records to the new school.

Nina's Story

Nina's family is in a homeless situation and is currently enrolled in the Holly Head Start program. Her family was doubled-up with some friends but now will need to move to live with another family on the other side of town. There is another Head Start program there, but Nina has been doing very well in the Holly program. Think about how you would handle Nina's move, and then find out what the Holly Head Start program did
to help with Nina's transition.

What the Holly Head Start program did for Nina's transition

The Holly Head Start program did not make an arbitrary decision regarding Nina's move to another program. They discussed with Nina's family whether to keep Nina at Holly Head Start and seek transportation, or to transition her to another program. Although the family has been very happy with how Nina is doing in the Holly Head Start program, they decided to have her go to the other program because it will be closer to where she currently resides. Holly Head Start did the following to prepare Nina for the move:

  • Communicated with the new program to let them know about Nina;
  • Talked with Nina's new teacher;
  • Met with the family to discuss the transition in depth;
  • Arranged for Nina and her family to visit the new program;
  • Encouraged the family to keep in touch; and
  • Made themselves available for home visits at the family's request.

Transitions: Explore Information

Before you work on the transitions element of your own enrollment plan, do the following:

  • Review the information in the links below.
  • Discuss with a colleague how the information might apply to your enrollment plan.

Transitions: Build Your Plan

In creating your enrollment plan, use the checklist below as you review and develop the transitions element of your plan to ensure that it addresses families experiencing homelessness. For more information, select the Tell me more links.

  • I have reviewed the transition ideas in the Analyze Enrollment and Explore Information tabs. Tell me more

    I have reviewed the transition ideas

    Consider the following questions:

    • Did you notice that the transition strategies may change depending upon the type of transition it is?
    • Did you notice that some transition strategies can be used for more than one type of transition?
    • Do the transition strategies include special approaches for families experiencing homelessness?
  • I have considered whether any of the transition ideas in the Analyze Enrollment and Explore Information tabs will work in my program. Tell me more

    I have considered whether any of the transition ideas will work in my program

    Consider the following questions:

    • Can you use any of the transition strategies in your own program? Which ones?
    • Are there any of the transition strategies that will not work in your program? Which ones? Why won't they work?
    • Are there other transition strategies you might want to include in your enrollment plan?
  • I have thought about various transitions that might arise in my program and how to address them. Tell me more

    I have thought about various transitions that might arise

    Consider the following questions:

    • What are some transitions that might arise in your program?
    • Have you thought about strategies to address those transitions?
    • Have you considered additional strategies that take families experiencing homelessness into account?
  • I have thought about my transition strategies and how I might change them to help families experiencing homelessness. Tell me more

    I have thought about my transition strategies

    Consider the following questions:

    • Do your current transition strategies take families experiencing homelessness into account?
    • What kind of transition strategies will work in your program?
    • What type of transition strategies should you include in your enrollment plan that will support families experiencing homelessness?
  • I have begun to formulate (or update my existing) transition strategies. Tell me more

    I have begun to formulate (or update my existing) transition strategies

    Consider the following questions:

    • Is there information in the Explore Information tab that can help you create or update your transition strategies?
    • Do you need to change your existing transition strategies to take into account families experiencing homelessness? How should you change them?
    • What transition strategies do you need to include in your enrollment plan to support families experiencing homelessness?
    • Have you reviewed your transition strategies to see if they support families experiencing homelessness? What did you determine?

Last Updated: July 9, 2014