On May 19 and June 9, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania brought together nearly 200 early learning providers for their annual transition conferences in Fayette and Westmoreland Counties.
The conferences were attended by members of United Way's transition teams, which include kindergarten teachers from local school districts, pre-k educators from childcare centers and community volunteers. Teams are coordinated under the kindergarten transition component of United Way's School Readiness program. The transition conferences are the teams' annual culmination; they gather to review the past year and plan for the year ahead.
The conferences also provide attendees with professional development and continuing education, in the form of special workshops and guest speakers from WQED, the Fred Rogers Center, Scholastic Literacy Resources and Lakeshore Learning.
Conferences conclude with team planning time. Throughout the school year, transition teams coordinate activities and experiences for local pre-k students, including parent orientation nights, student summer camps, classroom visits and more, which help them adapt to kindergarten. The teams' ultimate goal is to ensure students transition smoothly from pre-k to kindergarten and start school feeling calm, confident and ready to learn.