Transition to Preschool

seven little children sitting on the floor, smiling happily
Early intervention is designed for children from birth up to age three.  At that point, services under early intervention end. A transition plan to make the change from Early On® to something else, is part of the Individualized Family Service Plan process. Where your child goes and what they do after Early On is an individualized decision. 
Transition Planning happens for all families. Your transition plan will include what you want next and how to make it happen, and ways to help your child be ready for these changes. For children who are eligible to receive special education services, a Transition Conference must be held. Your service coordinator will schedule a meeting to develop the transition plan. This planning must start at least 90 days and no more than nine months before your child’s third birthday.
  • Transition planning can start as early as 2 years, 3 months of age
  • Transition planning must start by 2 years, 9 months of age
  • As families plan for what happens after Early On, this fill-able worksheet can help keep things on track.

What about eligibility for special education services?

If you have concerns about your preschooler’s development, the first step towards receiving special education services is asking your school district to complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility.

  • Eligibility Resources including sample letters, timelines, eligibility criteria, and answers to common questions.

Where will my child go to preschool?

Students with disabilities should attend preschool with non-disabled peers. Where a student with a disability receives special education and related services is an IEP team decision. IDEA requires placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE) for each child, a setting that is based on the child’s IEP. MORE ON LRE & PLACEMENT

If your child has caught up to other children their age and services are no longer needed, or your child is not eligible for special education, you should connect with local resources within your community.

If your child needs continued supports and is eligible for Part C services, you can access the same community resources available to all families, along with your child’s transition to receiving special education services.

If your child needs to be evaluated for special education services, the first step is to make a request for a comprehensive evaluation for special education services.

Preschool Inclusion

We know that where a child attends preschool can set the trajectory for the rest of their educational career. In Michigan, the majority of young students with disabilities are not being educated with their typical peers. A statewide workgroup has identified specific actions that would result in preschools having a more inclusive experience.

Michigan is expanding preschool options so every 4-year-old can access a free preschool education by 2027.

What other changes are there between Early On and preschool regarding special education?

There are many differences between Early On® (Part C) and Special Education (Part B) including:

  • Instead of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), you and your child’s team will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  • The term natural environments used in the Early On system. School age students should be educated in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). LRE means that  children with disabilities should receive services in typical community-based early childhood settings and programs whenever possible, and only go to more restrictive/specialized settings if a child’s individual needs require it.

Developing a vision…

This is a time when many parents start thinking, even worrying about school. Now is the time to start developing a vision for your child’s future. It is hard to think of your 3 year old as a 4th grader or their first year in high school. You might have heard the word inclusion. For children with developmental delays and/or a disability, inclusion is the concept that supports the idea that they are more like their non-disabled peers than they are different.

Think positive! Think possible! Research shows that when children with disabilities who are educated alongside their non-disabled friends there are better outcomes for both!

Michigan Alliance for Families can help you connect with families and organizations that support inclusion in school and community. Additional resources for information on inclusion:

Being prepared and planning to make your child’s transition smooth is another way that you help your child develop and learn. 

More topics for parents of infants and toddlers can be found on our webpage dedicated to resources for Babies and Toddlers, or search the bigger A-Z list or  contact us

Planning  for What Happens After Early On

Michigan Alliance for Families, in partnership with Early On® Michigan, is working together to increase the involvement of Michigan families in the   growth and development of their infants and toddlers.
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