Information on the existence of written exit criteria, as well as descriptions of existing criteria, was obtained from 178 surveys completed by early childhood education programs for handicapped children across the United States. Approximately half of the programs had formal written exit criteria. The most commonly cited criterion was chronological age. Other factors, such as formal test results, team staffing decisions, and the child's developmental skill level, also played a role. Significant differences appeared between exit criteria listed by programs with formal written exit criteria and those of programs without. The basis for dismissing children from preschool special education programs varies widely across and within states.