Transitioning Between Age Groups

How do you know your child is ready to engage and socialize with more advanced children and concept? Below is a list of indicators we use to determine the appropriate room in which to teach and nurture your child's creativity and curiosity.

Washington State's Early Learning and Developmental Benchmarks is a useful tool for understanding and guiding your child's development.

  • Green Room - Toddlers 12-28 Months

    Transitioning Between the Purple Room (Infants) and the Green Room (Toddlers)

    When your child nears one year of age there are a few items that we would like you to be aware of to make the transition to the toddler side of our room easy on you and your child.

    Things your child needs to do before being considered for toddler side:

    • Have their 1st birthday.
    • No longer need a bottle during child care hours.
    • Be able to walk or be able to hold their own with walkers moving around them.
    • Be able to hold off on taking a nap until 12:00.
    • Be able to sit at the table and eat solids- no infant food.
    • Be able to sleep on a cot for nap.
    • No pacifier or security item except for nap.

    We will assist you in gradually transitioning your child as much as we can. Once your child is nearing their first birthday we will be doing the following things:

    1. Take them to the table for mealtimes when space is available. We will be introducing them to the food being served at mealtimes and this will allow for socialization with current toddlers. Please keep in contact about any foods that you would not wish your child to receive. Dairy, eggs, and citrus foods will not be introduced until your child is 1 year old and we have discussed it prior. No peanut butter or nuts will be served at Rainbow as these are common allergy foods.
    2. We will make sure your child is being offered a cup to drink out of on a regular basis.
    3. We will allow your child to explore and play on the toddler side when space is available and at times when we are lower on numbers of toddlers as space is sometimes an issue. The same with planned activities at the table such as crafts or hands on learning, this is also when space and activity is appropriate for your child’s level.
    4. We will begin to place your child on a cot if we feel your child is capable of doing so. This would be done with one of our staff sitting by them helping them to relax and go to sleep. Possibly holding them until they are asleep and then placing them on their cot, the same practice as is done for the toddlers.
    5. We will make an effort to extend their naptimes to see if they are able to make it until 12:00. This may take the longest to accomplish for some and for some this won’t be an issue.
    6. Bottles will be cut back as your child eats more table food. They will be offered formula in sippee cups at mealtimes until they are one and then we will work with you on transitioning to whole milk. This also may be harder for some but not for others.

    Space in the next classroom your child is eligible for is also taken in to consideration.

  • Red Room - Ages 2-3

    Transitioning between the Green Room (Toddlers) and the Red Room (Ages 2-3)

    Here are some of the characteristics that we like to see in Red Room children (2 years or older).

    • Separation from parents without undue anxiety
    • Able to follow simple 1-2 step directions
    • Sitting at table
    • Beginning food self-help; asks for more
    • Uses some language or sign
    • Feeds self using a fork, spoon, and cup
    • Walking well
    • Able to push, pull and climb
    • Helps to put things away
    • Able to participate (or sit) at circle time for short periods
    • Stays on cot at nap time
  • Yellow Room - Ages 3-4

    Transitioning between the Red Room (Ages 2-3) and the Yellow Room (Ages 3-4)

    Here are some of the characteristics that we like to see in a child coming into the Yellow Room as well as the skills we hope that they will depart the Yellow Room with.


    • Potty trained; no pull-ups, independent with reminders (except at naptime)- this is currently not an entry requirement for yellow room. However, we would like to get back to it being one so potty trained children will be given priority when transitioning from Red to Yellow Room.
    • Talk; explain what they want; conversation with staff and children
    • Sit for meals; eat family style: uses fork and spoon
    • Self control; no hit/bite; calm themselves
    • Self-help skills; bathroom work; putting personal items away (shoes, coat); attempts to put on shoes/coat
    • Can use scissors
    • Can put items away in correct areas (ex. Blocks in block area, etc.)
    • Can clean up area/project when moving on (task completion)
    • Listens and follows oral directions
    • Shares toys
    • Conflict resolution; uses words for social problems (ex. Stop, no hitting/biting)
    • Recognizes name
    • Sings alphabet/counts 1-10
    • Circle time: able to sit, listen to story, sing songs
    • Participates in helping at clean up and responsible for self choices, with prompts
    • Independent


    • Numbers/letters
    • Identify written name
    • Team/partner work
    • Attend group time/story time; sit and listen to story
    • Friendships
    • Fantasy and role-playing
    • Engages in conversation with children and staff
    • Names and shares feelings/behaviors
    • Can use “I messages”; can address bullying behavior
    • Not hit, controlling body and calming body
    • Dressing self; snow clothes, after accidents, etc.
    • Self-help skills; bathroom independence, wiping, flushing, washing hands
    • Strengthen fine motor skills; uses scissors/stapler/hole punch
    • Can run, throw, gallop, hop, pedal, strike at object
    • Meal time manners
    • Task completion going well

    These are the criteria taken into consideration when placing new students or transitioning from one room to the next. Final decisions are made by ECLC teachers and directors based on what is in the best interest of the child and the classroom as a whole.

  • Blue Room - Ages 4-5

    Transitioning between the Yellow Room (Ages 3-4) and the Blue Room (Ages 4-5)

    The Blue Room at the ECLC serves children who are four and five years old. Often children are in their last year of preschool, and the majority will enter kindergarten in the next fall. Blue Room children may be “moving up” from prior years at the ECLC in Red and Yellow Rooms, or they may enter our program with other preschool and at-home experiences. Our primary goal is to support all children in learning skills and concepts through play and exploration with peers and school experiences. We want children to learn that learning is fun , and to develop the confidence , self-control and self-esteem that will support their success in later formal education as they enter kindergarten.


    While all development is a cumulative process, and each child has his or her unique developmental pattern, we hope that children entering Blue Room will generally accomplished the following physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills:

    • Independent in toileting, with reminders at transitions
    • Dressing mostly on own; asks for help as needed
    • Can sit and attend at circle/group times (10 min.)
    • Uses language to solve problems: identifies feelings; asks for help; tolerates some frustration without hitting, etc.
    • Interest in friendships and play with peers; cooperates most of time
    • Follows directions; listens to staff and peers
    • Enjoys participating in helping tasks
    • Interest in developing drawing and writing skills
    • Interest in learning: language, stories, letters, number, time
    • Can put things away where they belong
    • Growing confidence and competence in gross motor skills


    When children leave the Blue Room for kindergarten we hope they will have the following skills:

    • Competent and confident in self-help skills (dressing, toileting, daily routines)
    • Participates in circle activities and story times (15 - 20 min.)
    • Competence with fine motor skills: uses scissors, writes name and draws recognizable figures
    • Shows skill in problem-solving and task-completion with games and peers
    • Understands real vs. make-believe; participates in organized dramatic play themes
    • Plays cooperatively with peers; stands up for self verbally and listens to others
    • Understands “work” and play times; cleans up willingly, with prompts
    • Identifies key parts of a story; tells own stories
    • Knows most letters and letter sounds; may write own words/ask for help in writing
    • Counts to 20, can go beyond with prompts
    • Understands the sequence of daily events; may identify key times on clock
    • Shows organization skills; can “plan and do” own activities
    • Confidence in body control skills: can skip, catch and throw a ball, balance, repeat a rhythm in beat or clapping; may ride a bike
    • Uses manners appropriately; at greetings, meal times, transitions; shows patience and politeness most of time
    • Shows self-confidence; willing to try new skills, understands it’s important to keep trying; has an “I can” attitude!
  • Inside to Outside Transition

    • Understand that outdoor clothing might be different than indoor clothing.
    • Understand that they have a personal locker to place their coats, gloves, boots, etc
    • Recognizes when it is time to start getting ready to go outside
    • Understands the difference between a button or zipper coat
    • Can put on sweater, coat etc. by themselves or ask for assistance from student staff or lead teacher
    • Can recognize personal belongings (own coat, gloves, sweaters, shoes, etc.)
    • Have an understanding that the big climber is only for blue room
    • Clearly recognizes use of outside toys (little climber, blue room climber, playhouse, basketball court, etc.)
    • Can identify balls, bikes, tricycles and other outside toys
    • Can play and have conversation with other children and staff
    • Can walk up and down stairs alternating feet
    • Climbs well
    • Can run easily
    • Can kick balls and pedal tricycles
    • Recognizes when it is time to start getting ready to come inside
    • Helps place equipment where it belongs, helps with clean up
    • Comes in quietly and ready for quiet activity
    • Once inside, quietly take off outside clothing and wash hands for activity
    • Understands the basketball court is for bikes, not trikes
    • Aware of outside toys and where they belong
    • Self-help skills emphasized

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