EFFECTIVE TRANSITIONS TO ENHANCE SCHOOL READINESS Why is early school success so important? • 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 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 Elements to foster successful adjustment • Information • Relationships • Alignment Successful Adjustment What do we know about transitions? 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 How successfully are children entering kindergarten? Difficult 16% Some Problems 32% Successful 52% Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta & Cox, 2000 Teachers who say “half my class or more” exhibit these problems entering kindergarten 46% Difficulty following directions 36% Lack of academic skills 35% Difficulty working independently 31% Difficulty working as part of a group Problems with social skills 21% Difficulty communicating/ language problems 14% 0 Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta & Cox, 2000 10 20 30 40 50 School readiness and transition: A child-focused view Pre-K Kindergarten Child Child School readiness and transition: When connections are the focus Early Experiences Teachers Peers Kindergarten Teachers Child Community Peers Child Family Community Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 2000 Family Setting Changes 40% 35% 30% 25% Pre-K K 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Free Individual Choice/Centers Sm Group Wh Group LaParo et al., 2009 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.” 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-threemonths-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.” 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.” 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) Successful Transition: Guiding Principles • 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 Transition connections • Child-school connections • Family-school connections • School-school connections • Community-school connections 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 Child perspective of kindergarten 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. Interviews by Jim Squires, Preschoolers Conversations about School Readiness A school connecting with children • An example of how one school reached out to children to help create a successful transition LINK TO ONLINE VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMf1mveot3I&feature =related 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 Child & family connections with school: Transition activities families found useful Transition activity % of families who used the activity and found it helpful 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 Pianta et al., 1999 99 89 95 100 99 97 97 100 98 92 96 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 School-school connections: Transition activities teachers found useful Preschool teachers K teachers % who found the activity helpful % who found the activity helpful 100 96 Prek teachers visiting a kindergarten classroom 100 100 Holding an elementary school-wide activity with prek children 83 100 Having a spring orientation about kindergarten for parents of preschool children 100 100 Having an individual meeting between a teacher and a parent of the preschool child 100 100 Sharing written records 100 100 Transition activity Prek children visiting their kindergarten classroom School to school example: Early childhood professionals working together • 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 elementary school the Smart Beginnings, 2011 Community-School Connections • Goal: To facilitate the transition process within the community – Getting the word out – Providing resources where they are needed Community-School Connections • Clarify community needs and expectations regarding schools and transition • Inter-agency connections with key players • Communicate information effectively Community in Action Preparation for parents • A public service announcement LINK TO ONLINE VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grZc0lcliTQ Preparation for parents • The Health Science Channel helps prepare parents for the transition LINK TO ONLINE VIDEO http://www.healthsciencechannel.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.main&SearchTxt=kindergarten&SearchBtn Preparing the community Pre-Kindergarten Summer Camp Kindergarten camps SCUSD > Child Development Pre-Kindergarten Summer Camp View and Print Flyer: English | Hmong | Russian | Spanish Click here for Enrollment Assistance Schedule • 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 http://www.scusd.edu/C SO WHY DO WE NEED TO DO ALL OF THIS? Transition Experience Matters • 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. LoCasale-Crouch et al., 2008 Effect of Transition Practices • Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (Schulting, Malone & Dodge, 2005) – 17,212 children, 992 schools Fall K Transition Practices = Spring K Academic Skills Even more for children from disadvantaged families Children, Families and Schools Benefit from Connections • 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 HOW DO WE BUILD SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION EXPERIENCES? 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 1. Assessing your partnership • Who is involved? – Teachers (pre-k and kindergarten) – School leaders (pre-k and kindergarten) – Family representative(s) – Community leaders 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 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? 3. Assessing what is happening now 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? 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? – • When should tasks be implemented? – • Assign roles within the transition team Set deadlines for tasks and create a timeline Anticipate barriers and make plans to overcome them 5. Planning and prioritizing Timeline example PRESCHOOL September Family group meetings Inform parents about home literacy Activities April PS & K teachers transition efforts Class lists for K Preschoolers visit K K-camp fundraising Research locations for K-camp K-camp fundraising Use community resources to spread info about K-camp SUMMER June KINDERGARTEN August Remind parents of home literacy activities Open houses School playground nights K screenings K-camp enrollment K teacher and parents meet K-camp September Back-to-school nights Foster family connections w/ teachers 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 Resources on the Web National Head Start Association – “Terrific Transitions” http://center.serve.org/TT/transiti.html Enhancing the Transition to Kindergarten: Linking Children, Families & Schools http://www.cpirc.org/vertical/Sites/%7B95025A21-DD4C-45C2-AE37-D35CA63B7AD9%7D/uploads/%7BB2FC278E-5FC7-47FA9039-E69743ABAF64%7D.PDF Easing the Transition from Pre-k to Kindergarten: What Schools and Families Can do to Address Child Readiness http://www.sedl.org/connections/resources/rb/rb6-readiness.pdf Durham County’s Transition to Kindergarten Initiative http://www.dpfc.net/TransitiontoKindergartenInitiative.aspx Families as Primary Partners in their Child’s Development & School Readiness www.aecf.org/upload/publicationfiles/families.pdf What is Family Support? http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/teaching/eecd/FamiliesParent%20Involvement/Ongoing%20Communication/famcom_lea_09271_062005.html#family Back to School Time: Tips to Help Children Adjust http://readyweb.crc.uiuc.edu/virtual-library/1996/bck2schl.html NECTC Transition Tips: Toolkit of Practices and Strategies http://www.hdi.uky.edu/SF/NECTC/practicesearch.aspx Florida’s Transition Project http://www.floridatransitionproject.ucf.edu/ National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning For more Information Contact us at: [email protected] or 877-731-0764 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.