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4K/5K Transition: Guidance


Transition into 4K or 5K is more than just getting a child “ready” to enter into kindergarten programming. It is a comprehensive process that engages families, community members and schools to ensure a continuum of educational supports/services are provided to children and families.

Key to the creation of this process is Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP). Utilizing DAP, specifically the Three Core Consideration for Decision-Making in the DAP Position Statement , as the foundation for designing transition processes will result in equitable opportunities for children and families. It will help to ensure that not only will children being “ready” for school, but schools to be “ready” for children.

DAP’s Three Core Considerations for Decision-Making

  • Commonality—current research and understandings of processes of child development and learning that apply to all children, including the understanding that all development and learning occur within specific social, cultural, linguistic, and historical contexts.
    • All child development and learning—actually, all human development and learning—are always embedded within and affected by social and cultural 
    • Early childhood educators need to understand the commonalities of children’s development and learning and how those commonalities take unique forms as they reflect the social and cultural frameworks in which they occur (DAP Position Statement, 2020, p.6).
  • Individuality—the characteristics and experiences unique to each child, within the context of their family and community, that have implications for how best to support their development and learning.

    • Early childhood educators have the responsibility of getting to 

      know each child well, understanding each child as an individual

      and as a family and community member.

    • Early childhood educators recognize the diversity among children and the 

      opportunities it offers to support all children’s learning by 

      recognizing each child as a unique individual with  assets 

      and strengths to contribute to the early childhood education 

      learning environment (DAP Position Statement, 2020, p.7).

  • Context—everything discernible about the social and cultural contexts for each child, each educator, and the program as a whole.

    • Context includes both one’s personal cultural context (the 

      complex set of ways of knowing the world that reflect one’s family 

      and other primary caregivers and their traditions and values) 

      and the broader multifaceted and intersecting (for example,

      social, racial, economic, historical, and political) cultural contexts 

      in which each of us live.

    • By recognizing 

      that children’s experiences may vary by their social identities (for

       example, by race or ethnicity, language, gender, class, ability, family 

      composition, and economic status, among others), with different

      and intersecting impacts on their development and learning, 

      educators can make adaptations to affirm and support positive 

      development of each child’s multiple social identities (DAP Position Statement, 2020, p.7).

Transition Processes in Action

Below are links to national resources that exemplify DAP within their processes for supporting transition into 4K/5K. 

For questions about this information, contact Sherry Kimball (608) 267-9625