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Successful Kindergarten Transitions

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Title: Successful Kindergarten Transitions


1
Successful Kindergarten Transitions
Developing a Community Action Plan
Jason Downer, Ph.D. Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch,
MSW Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and
Learning University of Virginia
2
Today ?
  • What we know from research and practice about
  • The significance of the kindergarten transition
  • Childrens experiences during this transition
  • A best practices framework for effective
    transitions
  • Utilizing this framework to develop an action plan

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
What Contributes to Adjustment?
  • Connections Continuity
  • Linkages/Connections
  • Information
  • Relationships

5
Prek and K Enrollment in PA
6
Why is transition to school important?
  • Early school years are a critical period
  • Brain research
  • Longitudinal follow-up studies
  • Preschool experiences enhance early school
    success
  • Intervention research pre-K research

7
How successfully are children entering
kindergarten?
8
Teachers who say half my class or more exhibit
these problems entering kindergarten
46
Difficulty following directions
Lack of academic skills
36
Difficulty working independently
35
Difficulty working as part of a group
31
Problems with social skills
21
Difficulty communicating/ language problems
14
0
10
20
30
40
50
9
Gaps in Academics by K
Percent of Kindergarteners Passing Proficiency
Levels in Fall
Maternal Education
(NCES, 2000)
10
Gaps in Social Development by K
Percent of Kindergarteners Who Often
Maternal Education
(NCES, 2000)
11
A child-focused view
Pre-K
Kindergarten
Child
Child
Continuity at the child level
12
Continuity A child-focused view
  • 70 longitudinal studies
  • Stability of prek-K and K-2 assessments of
    social/behavioral and cognitive/academic
    performance
  • Average stability r cognitive/academic .49
  • Average stability r social/behavioral .27

13
Transition process A relational view
Pre-K
Kindergarten
Peers
Teachers
Child
Family
Community
14
Misalignments and shifts
  • Changes in academic demands / curricula
  • Quality of learning environment
  • Complex social environment (peers and adults)
  • Less family connection with school
  • Less time with teacher(s)

15
Family Experiences Relationships
  • His teacher called several days before school
    started it was great and really made Nate feel
    great.
  • 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 dont want to be
    a once-every-three-months-for-report-card thing.
    I want to have more interaction.

16
Family Experiences Information
  • Im 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 didnt eat all day . . . something got
    mixed up. I tried again with a dollar the next
    day . . . but he didnt eat that day either. He
    wet his pants. The teacher is young and shes
    not very organized. Im anxious.
  • We werent sure about sending him, he may be
    young. His teacher called to say hes way behind
    and should go back to preschool.

17
Common themes in parents views
  • Contact with school can help or it can hurt
  • Prefer starting to prepare early
  • Want teachers to get to know their child

18
How are teachers helping children make the
transition to kindergarten?
Three most common
A talk with the childs parents after school
starts
95
A letter to the childs parents after school
starts
88
An open house for parents and students after
school starts
81
0
20
40
60
80
100
19
How are teachers helping children make the
transition to kindergarten?
Three least common
A visit to the childs home before school starts
9
A visit to the childs home after school starts
12
A call to the child before school starts
13
0
20
40
60
80
100
20
Connecting schools with families
  • Generic contacts
  • After school starts
  • Always at school
  • Too little, too late, too impersonal

21
Classroom Experiences
  • To what extent are childrens classroom
    experiences uniform from prek 3rd grade?
  • National Center for Early Development and
    Learning (NCEDL)
  • Multi-state Pre-K classroom observations (n238)
  • NICHD Study of Early Child Care
  • 1st 3rd grade (about 800 classrooms per year)

22
Time Spent in Literacy Language Activities
23
Time Spent in Routines
24
Group Formats
25
First Grade Classroom Activities
Number intervals observed (60 max)
x
S.D.
Range
Activity
30.94
13.31
0-60
Teacher-led group
Teacher-led individual
16.81
12.31
0-58
Subject areas
36.99
14.43
0-60
8.32
11.20
0-50
2.53
6.91
0-59
1.47
4.98
0-48
10.42
7.91
0-51
49.32
11.67
0-87
Academic activities total
26
What is the global qualityof prek-3 classrooms?
  • Positive emotional/social support
  • Instructional support

27
Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale
Excellent
Inadequate
Good
Minimal
28
What is the consistency of experience across
years?
  • In NICHD study, grades K-5 in same schools
  • No relation between experiences from year to year
  • In NCEDL study, from prek to K, correlations are
    non-significant
  • High degree of fluctuation from one grade to the
    next, even when using the same curriculum

29
Classroom experiences from prek to elementary
school
  • Highly uneven classroom experiences across and
    within grades
  • Overall quality not high, particularly for
    instruction
  • Lack of alignment on curriculum, quality of child
    experiences, and teacher-child interactions

30
Transition Activities Matter (LoCasale-Crouch et
al., 2006)
  • In the NCEDL project, contact between a childs
    pre-k and kindergarten teacher during the pre-k
    year was associated with all of the following at
    the beginning of kindergarten,
  • Greater frustration tolerance
  • Better social skills
  • Fewer conduct problems
  • Fewer learning problems and,
  • More positive approaches to learning.

31
Transition Activities Matter
  • Transition activities initiated by pre-k teachers
    were most helpful for children from disadvantaged
    families.

32
Transition plan Connections leadership
  • A process, not a program
  • Build connections across time and contexts
  • Recognize that transition needs are different for
    different families, schools, communities, and
    children
  • Create and maintain an interagency leadership team

33
Connections involve
  • Information, relationships, and continuity

Peers
Teachers
Child
Family
Community
34
Best Practices Building Connections
35
Transition connections
  • Child-school
  • Family-school
  • School-school
  • Community-school

36
Models of best practices
  • Common denominators
  • Information
  • Social/Relationships
  • Continuity
  • Leadership

37
Child-School Connections
  • Goal To increase childrens 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

38
Peer Connections
  • Within preschool and outside of school
  • With peers who will be in kindergarten
  • With kindergarteners

39
Teacher-Child Relationships
  • Early teacher-child relationships related to
    children doing better socially and academically
    through middle school
  • Positive relationship to transmit learning

40
More Child-School Opportunities
  • Activities incorporated into the preschool day in
    preparation for kindergarten
  • Preschool child and kindergarten teacher
  • Preschool child visits kindergarten for a special
    school function

41
Transition in Action
  • 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.

42
Mount View Plan-Kindergarten Round Up
  • Annual summer activity for kindergarten students
    and families, invited to attend a day at the
    school
  • The children participate in activities in the
    kindergarten classroom
  • Bilingual liaisons available to facilitate
    communication

43
Family-School Connections
  • Goal To increase family collaboration and
    involvement with the school and the transition
    process
  • Convey new information
  • Partners in the process

44
Family-School Examples
  • Contact with families before school starts
  • Orientations and back-to-school nights
  • Coordinated sharing of information
  • Encouraging family participation in home learning

45
Family Responses
  • The kindergarten teacher keeps me informed about
    how my daughter does. Theyll send notes home,
    and they sent homework for her to do that we can
    do together.
  • I am pleased . . . the teacher called after the
    first two days of school to say how well she was
    doing.

46
Transition activities that families participated
in and found useful
of families who used the activity and found it
helpful
47
Transition activities that teachers participated
in and found useful
48
Mount View
  • At K round up, families learn about immunization,
    school activities, the school district calendar,
    joining the Parent Teacher Association
  • Parents receive their first copy of the schools
    newsletter, available in several languages
  • Meetings are held for parents who share a common
    language
  • Grade-level open houses for families to meet
  • Parents can provide feedback through an
    end-of-year survey

49
School-School Connections
  • GOAL To provide children with stable classroom
    experiences across time
  • Increase continuity for children
  • Frame childrens development on a continuum
  • Support teachers across settings

50
Creating Ready Schools
  • Initiate policies that align experiences-
  • Share information across settings
  • Match early learning standards with curricula
  • Reach consensus on child assessments
  • Systematic assessments of classroom processes
    from pre-K to 3rd grade
  • On-going, practice-focused professional
    development for teachers

51
Early Learning Standards, Curricula, Assessment
  • Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards
  • Approaches to Learning
  • Creative Arts
  • Language/Literacy
  • Logical-Mathematical
  • Personal/Social
  • Physical-Health
  • Program Partnerships
  • Science
  • Social Studies

52
Implications
  • Focus efforts on process of implementing
    curriculum during interactions with children in
    the classroom
  • Not just what curriculum you use, but how its
    taught
  • Not only courses or degrees, but training and
    support
  • More uniform, consistent exposure to high quality
  • Resources aimed at supporting teachers and high
    quality teaching

53
Teacher professional development
  • Each year, school districts and the federal
    government spend millions, if not billions, of
    dollars on in-service seminars and other forms of
    professional development that are fragmented,
    intellectually superficial, and do not take into
    account what we know about how teachers learn (p.
    3) Borko, 2004

54
  • Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI)
  • State-funded preschool
  • Serves over 5,300 children in gt400 classrooms
  • gt50 families with income below the poverty line
  • 240 pre-kindergarten teachers

Funded by NICHD Interagency School Readiness
Consortium
55
MTP Support
Web-based individualized support, and MTP Quality
Teaching site
MTP Activities
Teacher-child interactions and relationships
CLASS
Student growth in language, literacy and social
relationships
56
www.myteachingpartner.net
57
MTP Individualized Teacher Support
58
Early Findings from MTP
  • Teachers receiving consultation support show
    greater increases in quality of emotionally and
    instructionally supportive interactions.
  • When teachers actively participate in
    consultation, children show greater gains in
    tests of early literacy.

59
Community-School Connections
  • Goal To facilitate continuity in the transition
    process within the community
  • Getting the word out
  • Providing resources where they are needed

60
Supporting Schools and Children
  • Community members offer a wealth of support
    through sharing their knowledge, talent and time

61
Community-School Examples
  • Clarify community needs and expectations
    regarding schools and transition
  • Inter-agency connections with key players
  • Communicate information effectively

62
Mount View-Para los Niños
  • School district partnering with a community
    organization
  • Interested parents can learn English two days per
    week
  • Early learning activities are provided for
    children
  • Translation services provided by Community
    Engagement Team for all parent conferences
  • A community partnership supplies after school
    activities such as tae kwon do, home work help,
    and dance

63
Steps toward Building Connections
64
Step-by-Step Process
  • Establish a collaborative team
  • Identify a transition coordinator
  • Facilitate regular meetings and conduct a needs
    assessment
  • Generate ideas for transition activities
  • Create a transition timeline
  • Anticipate barriers
  • Revise ideas and timeline
  • Implement transition practices

65
Timeline Example
PRESCHOOL
SUMMER
KINDERGARTEN
66
Resources on the Web
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
  • www.ccsso.org/content/pdfs/Parent_Involvement_at_R
    eady_Schools.pdf
  • National Center for Early Development and
    Learning
  • www.ncedl.org
  • Harvard Family Research Project
  • www.gse.harvard.edu/hfrp/projects/fine/resources
  • National Early Childhood Transition Center
  • www.ihdi.uky.edu/nectc/
  • Wisconsin Collaborating Partners
  • www.collaboratingpartners.com/transition/movingon.
    htm

67
Resources in Print
  • Epstein, J.L. (2001). School, Family, and
    Community Partnerships Preparing Educators and
    Improving Schools. Oxford Westview Press.
  • Pianta, R., Cox, M. (1999). The Transition to
    Kindergarten. Baltimore Paul Brookes Publishing
    Co.
  • Pianta, R., Kraft-Sayre, M. (2003). Successful
    Kindergarten Transition. Baltimore Brookes.
  • Schulting, A.B., Malone, P.S., Dodge, K.A.
    (2005). The effect of school-based kindergarten
    transition policies and practices on child
    academic outcomes. Developmental Psychology,
    41(6), 860-871.
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