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Presentation on theme: "EFFECTIVE TRANSITIONS TO ENHANCE SCHOOL READINESS."— Presentation transcript:


2 Early school years are a “critical period” for learning and development Preschool and early experiences enhance school success How quickly children adjust across settings increases their success – so supporting success across the transition is important Why is early school success so important?

3 Transitions Across the Lifespan Becoming a new parent Going to (or back to) college Moving to a new town Starting a new job Experiencing an empty nest Retirement from a career Getting married

4 Elements to foster successful adjustment Information Relationships Alignment Successful Adjustment

5 What we know from research and practice about: Children’s adjustment to kindergarten The transition experiences and its effects on children “Best practice” model of transition What do we know about transitions?

6 How successfully are children entering kindergarten? Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta & Cox, 2000

7 Teachers who say “half my class or more” exhibit these problems entering kindergarten 01020304050 Difficulty communicating/ language problems Problems with social skills Difficulty working as part of a group Difficulty working independently Lack of academic skills Difficulty following directions 14% 21% 31% 35% 36% 46% Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta & Cox, 2000

8 School readiness and transition: A child-focused view Child Pre-K Kindergarten

9 School readiness and transition: When connections are the focus Early Experiences Child Peers FamilyCommunity Teachers Kindergarten Child Peers FamilyCommunity Teachers Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 2000

10 Setting Changes LaParo et al., 2009

11 Transition experiences “His teacher called several days before school started; it was great and really made Nate feel great.” “At the beginning I got her excited by talking about starting school six months before it started… it made the transition easy… Before school started I took her to the classroom to get her adjusted to it.” “I am pleased… the teacher called after the first two days of school to say how well she was doing.”

12 Transition experiences “On a more personal level, my son spends eight hours a day with his teacher and his best friend. I want to know those people. I don’t want it to be a once-every-three- months-for-report-card thing. I want to have more interaction.” “The teacher called the first week of school to say he is the biggest clown in the class.”

13 Transition experiences “The teacher called me the first week of school and said she should have been evaluated for Ritalin because she can’t teach her.” “We weren’t sure about sending him, he may be too young. His teacher called to say he’s way behind and should go back to preschool.” “I’m not happy with it… I sent in notes but got no response from the teacher… The first day of school I sent him with a dollar for lunch but he didn’t eat all day… something got mixed up. I tried again with a dollar the next day, but he didn’t eat that day either. He wet his pants. The teacher is young and she’s not very organized. I’m anxious about this year.”

14 Misalignments and Shifts in the Transition to Kindergarten Changes in academic demands / curricula Less family connection with school Complexity of social environment (peers and adults) Less time with teacher(s)

15 It’s a process, not a program Supportive relationships are resources for children Different sets of relationships fit different needs – some are supportive, some informational Connections serve as a bridge for child, family, and school across time and contexts Successful Transition: Guiding Principles

16 Transition connections Child-school connections Family-school connections School-school connections Community-school connections

17 Child-School Connections Goal: To foster children’s familiarity with the classroom setting and those people within it – Increased comfort and decreased anxiety – Building teacher-child relationships –Exposure to new setting prior to school starting

18 Emily:... it's a big, big, big school and there's more kids. Because there's hundred and hundreds and hundreds. And there's kids that don't know each other's names. Everyone knows names here. JS: Are you ready to go to kindergarten next year? Marcy: Yeah. JS: How do you know you're ready? Marcy: Because I feel so happy. Child perspective of kindergarten Interviews by Jim Squires, Preschoolers Conversations about School Readiness

19 A school connecting with children An example of how one school reached out to children to help create a successful transition =related LINK TO ONLINE VIDEO

20 Family-School Connections Goal: To foster family collaboration and involvement with the school and the transition process – Share information about individual children – Get parents familiar with school routines – Become partners in the process

21 Child & family connections with school: Transition activities families found useful % of families who used the activity and found it helpful Transition activity Had child visit a kindergarten classroom Met with a kindergarten teacher Met with the principal Took a tour of the school Talked with preschool staff about kindergarten Visited the kindergarten classroom Talked with parents of child’s new classmates Participated in elementary school-wide activities Attended a workshop for parents Met with child’s anticipated kindergarten teacher Attended an orientation to kindergarten 99 89 95 100 99 97 100 98 92 96 Pianta et al., 1999

22 School-School Connections GOAL: To provide children with stable high quality classroom experiences across time –Increase consistency for children across contexts through alignment of: Routines Curricula Learning standards Assessments

23 School-school connections: Transition activities teachers found useful Preschool teachersK teachers Transition activity % who found the activity helpful Prek children visiting their kindergarten classroom Prek teachers visiting a kindergarten classroom Holding an elementary school-wide activity with prek children Having a spring orientation about kindergarten for parents of preschool children Having an individual meeting between a teacher and a parent of the preschool child Sharing written records 100 83 100 96 100

24 Kindergarten, Head Start, and preschool teachers Meet four times a year focusing on aligning experiences for children Outcomes: – Increased participation in transition opportunities like K camp Children, families, and teachers more prepared – Increased consistency between settings related to routines and expectations Pre-k teachers felt their knowledge of children and families was valued K teachers felt children more socially and academically prepared – Increased awareness of the community needs for more spaces for children An additional preschool class is being considered to be added to the elementary school School to school example: Early childhood professionals working together Smart Beginnings, 2011

25 Community-School Connections Goal: To facilitate the transition process within the community – Getting the word out – Providing resources where they are needed

26 Clarify community needs and expectations regarding schools and transition Inter-agency connections with key players Communicate information effectively Community-School Connections

27 Community in Action

28 Preparation for parents A public service announcement LINK TO ONLINE VIDEO

29 Preparation for parents The Health Science Channel helps prepare parents for the transition LINK TO ONLINE VIDEO

30 Preparing the community

31 Kindergarten camps Child, family, school, and community, connections –Improved social adjustment to kindergarten –Improved familiarity with routines for kids with same teacher –Reading benefits Berlin, Dunning & Dodge, 2010; Borman, Goetz & Dowling, 2009


33 In the NCEDL project, more transition activities were associated with all of the following child outcomes at the beginning of kindergarten: –Greater frustration tolerance –Better social skills –Fewer conduct problems –Fewer learning problems –More positive approaches to learning Transition activities were most helpful for children from disadvantaged families. Transition Experience Matters LoCasale-Crouch et al., 2008

34 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (Schulting, Malone & Dodge, 2005) –17,212 children, 992 schools Effect of Transition Practices Spring K Academic Skills = Fall K Transition Practices Even more for children from disadvantaged families

35 Children more socially ready –Helps them participate more academically Families more connected to school –Improved long-term student outcomes Teachers more prepared to support children/families –Better relationships that lead to enhanced child outcomes Financially smart: Low investment, high yield Children, Families and Schools Benefit from Connections


37 Six steps to transition planning 1. Assess your partnership: Who is involved? 2. Identify the goals of the team around transition and alignment 3. Assess what is happening now 4. Identify data that you have to support these practices 5.Plan and Prioritize: Reevaluate goals, choose steps to take, assign roles, set deadlines, anticipate barriers 6.Implement and Evaluate

38 1. Assessing your partnership Who is involved? –Teachers (pre-k and kindergarten) –School leaders (pre-k and kindergarten) –Family representative(s) –Community leaders

39 2. Identifying the goals of the team Choose several goals that fit your program’s needs Examples: –Support children being ready for school –Help families know more about what they can do at home to help children be ready for school –Get community more involved with children

40 3. Assessing what is happening now Sort what you are currently doing into categories –What is fostering child-school connections? –What is fostering family-school connections? –What is fostering school-school connections? –What is fostering community-school connections?

41 3. Assessing what is happening now

42 4. Examining data you have Is what you’re currently doing working? How do you know? –Are children adjusting to kindergarten better because their preschool teacher is reading books about kindergarten before they enter? –Are more families registering early for kindergarten because of community efforts to disseminate information? –Are kindergarten teachers better informed about students because of school-school collaboration?

43 5. Planning and Prioritizing What are the next steps to take? –Reevaluate goals and formulate new ones –Plan steps to address new goals Who is responsible for tasks? –Assign roles within the transition team When should tasks be implemented? –Set deadlines for tasks and create a timeline Anticipate barriers and make plans to overcome them

44 5. Planning and prioritizing

45 Timeline example PRESCHOOLSUMMERKINDERGARTEN September Family group meetings Inform parents about home literacy Activities Research locations for K-camp K-camp fundraising April PS & K teachers transition efforts Class lists for K Preschoolers visit K K-camp fundraising Use community resources to spread info about K-camp June Remind parents of home literacy activities School playground nights K-camp enrollment August Open houses K teacher and parents meet K screenings K-camp September Back-to-school nights Foster family connections w/ teachers

46 6. Implementing and Evaluating Implement the plan you have created Evaluate: Is what you are doing working? How do you know? –Examine data on newly implemented practices – do you see changes? –Modify practices as needed and define new goals

47 Resources on the Web National Head Start Association – “Terrific Transitions” Enhancing the Transition to Kindergarten: Linking Children, Families & Schools 9039-E69743ABAF64%7D.PDF Easing the Transition from Pre-k to Kindergarten: What Schools and Families Can do to Address Child Readiness Durham County’s Transition to Kindergarten Initiative Families as Primary Partners in their Child’s Development & School Readiness What is Family Support? Parent%20Involvement/Ongoing%20Communication/famcom_lea_09271_062005.html#family Back to School Time: Tips to Help Children Adjust NECTC Transition Tips: Toolkit of Practices and Strategies Florida’s Transition Project

48 For more Information Contact us at: or 877-731-0764 National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning This document was prepared under Grant #90HC0002 for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, by the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning.


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