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Transition to Kindergarten Checklist

October 20, 2021
Early Childhood, Special Education

When your child transitions from preschool to kindergarten, it can be a stressful time. Learn about the steps you can take to prepare for this process.

Before Applying:

  • Be on the lookout for a yellow welcome packet from the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE). Learn more about each kind of colored letter here.
  • Learn about the DOE Kindergarten application and Turning 5 special education processes. Sign up for a DOE Kindergarten Orientation Meeting webinar. The schedule is included in the yellow welcome packet. You can also attend an INCLUDEnyc T5 workshop.
  • Get updates to know when the Kindergarten application opens at
  • Learn about your child’s special education options. Here is a breakdown of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Learn about kindergarten program options, their application process, and deadlines as applicable (e.g. public, charter, specialized programs, religious, state-approved nonpublic, and private). Learn more about specialized programs.
  • If your child is already receiving preschool special education services, then check with your local Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) office to ensure that they have referred your child to the Committee on Special Education (CSE).
  • Start contacting programs to arrange a tour. Due to COVID-related restrictions, some programs may only be conducting virtual tours. Visit the school website for information. Talk to other parents for feedback.
  • Apply to kindergarten programs. Set up a account (available in languages other than English) to apply for kindergarten at community schools. You also can contact your Family Welcome Center for help or apply by calling
    (718) 935-2009. This also is a good time to apply to other programs.

During Application Process:

  • Review your child’s current paperwork, such as the Individualized Education Program (IEP), progress reports, and evaluations to determine if an updated evaluation is needed.
  • If your child needs an initial evaluation, be on the lookout for a blue letter from the DOE. Children who already have preschool IEPs (including those who may need a re-evaluation) will not receive a blue letter. You will be notified by your child’s school orally or by written notice on regular white paper. 
  • Request new evaluations from your district representative, if needed. Your team may also consider any independent evaluation reports that you have.
  • Have your child’s doctor complete all medical forms, such as forms for transportation, nursing services, health paraprofessional, and medication administration.
  • If you applied through the DOE kindergarten application, you should receive an offer letter in the spring. Next step: preregister.

After Application Submission:

  • Start preparing for your child’s Kindergarten IEP meeting also known as the “Turning 5” meeting.
  • Be on the lookout for a white letter from the DOE that will summarize what was discussed at your IEP meeting. Make sure you get a copy of your child’s Kindergarten IEP.
  • Be on the lookout for a green and/or purple letter from the DOE by June 15th, which will vary depending on when your child was initially referred for special education services. Contact for placement and service recommendation inquiries and/or if you have not received a placement letter.
  • Arrange a family meeting with your child’s new school.
  • For all your special education questions, call the INCLUDEnyc Help Line at (212) 677-4660 (English) or (212) 677-4668 (Español).