Smooth Transitions: A Guide for Graduating Kids to the Next Class in Children’s Ministry

This guest post was written by Dale Hudson.

Whether you transition kids into new classrooms at the beginning or end of the summer, it’s important to have a strategic plan in place.

A good transition plan can turn a time of uncertainty and apprehension for kids and parents into a great, anticipated experience.

The important thing to remember is to start preparing the kids and parents ahead of time for transition weekend. The more you communicate and prepare them ahead of time, the smoother the transition will be. Start months out by connecting them to the leader(s) of the environment they will be going to. This will enable them to have an established relationship with the leader(s) when they make the move up.

12 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, Leader(s) from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leader(s) introduces him/herself and greets the kids.

9 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, Leader(s) from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leader(s) makes an announcement about the transition and gets the kids excited about the move. 

6 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, Leader(s) from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leader(s) makes an announcement about the transition and gets the kids excited about the move.
  • Put in Parent Take Home paper, Facebook, website, pre-service slides, and other ways you communicate with parents. 

4 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, Leader(s) from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leader(s) makes an announcement about transition and leads part of the service like a game, song, etc.
  • Put in Parent Take Home paper, Facebook, website, pre-service slides, and other ways you communicate with parents.
  • Begin inviting your pre-teens who are moving into Middle School Ministry and their parents to a special Celebration in their honor 

3 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, Leader(s) from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leader(s) makes an announcement about transition and leads part of the service like a game, song, etc.
  • Put in Parent Take Home paper, Facebook, website, bulletin, pre-service slides, and other ways you communicate with parents. 

2 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, Leader(s) from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leader(s) makes an announcement about transition and teaches the lesson.
  • Have an open house after the service and invite parents to check out their child’s new environment.
  • Put in Parent Take Home paper, Facebook, website, bulletin, and other ways you communicate with parents.

1 week out

  • Kids go and visit their new environments during service for a few minutes.
  • Have an open house after the service and invite parents to check out their child’s new environment.
  • Put in Parent Take Home paper, Facebook, website, bulletin, pre-service slides and other ways you communicate with parents.
  • Have a special Celebration for your pre-teens who are moving into Middle School Ministry. Make it a family event and invite their parents to join them. Here are some ideas…
  • Memory video or slide show from their time in Children’s Ministry.
  • Worship
  • Introduce Middle School staff and volunteers. Have them give a brief overview of Middle School Ministry and cast vision.
  • A talk by the Children’s Pastor/Director.
  • Testimonies and blessings from some of the volunteers.
  • Testimonies by some of the pre-teens.
  • Parental blessing is spoken over children by their parents.
  • Prayer of blessing over children by the Children’s Pastor/Director.
  • Gift was given to each pre-teen.
  • Time of food and fellowship afterward in the Middle School area. MS Staff and leaders are available to meet kids/parents and answer questions. 

Week of

  • Send communication piece to parents with classroom details. Include age breakdowns, classroom names (regular mail, email, Facebook, texting, Twitter, etc.)

For me it works best when you promote the kids at the end of the school year. Here’s why…

  • Once the school year is over, in kid’s minds they are already in the next grade.
  • It gives the Middle School staff and volunteers the summer to build strong relationships with the kids before the school year starts.
  • Kids can participate in Middle School summer events.

What are some things you do for a smooth transition? Would enjoy hearing about them.


Dale Hudson has served in children’s ministry for over three decades. He is the Founder of Building Children’s Ministries in Palm Beach, Florida. He was named one of the “Top 20 Influencers in Children’s Ministry” by Children’s Ministry Magazine. He is the co-author of four children’s ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry. His articles are featured daily at relevantchildrensministry.com, childrensministry.com, and churchleaders.com. He’s been married to his wife, Pamela, for over 30 years and they have two sons (Josh and Caleb).

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