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Citation:Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Pianta, R C. (1999). Patterns of family-school contact in preschool, and kindergarten. School Psychology Review, 28(3), 426-438.

Annotation:
The purpose of this study is to quantify characteristics of teacher-family contact in preschool and kindergarten. It examines changes in teacher-family contact longitudinally as children make the transition from preschool to kindergarten, and evaluates these patterns of teacher-family contacts in light of the changing school environments that children and families experience during the transition. The researchers found that teacher-family contact differed among various preschool and kindergarten programs, reflecting different program philosophies and priorities. Characteristics of family involvement differed according to program priorities, which shows the influence schools have in encouraging specific rates and types of teacher-family contacts. Teacher-family contact occurred more frequently, directly, and informally, and contained less negative content in preschool as compared to kindergarten. Years of preschool teaching experience was positively correlated with the rate of teacher-family contact, but no other child or teacher variables predicted contact rates. The study was conducted over a two-year period with a diverse group of 188 children in two preschools and one kindergarten. Teachers recorded teacher-family contacts using a daily diary method. The authors note that the difference seen from preschool to kindergarten could be in part due to kindergarten teachers recording contacts less frequently due to less rigorous training. Preschool teachers generally prioritize family involvement more than kindergarten teachers, and may have been more accurate in recording contacts. The authors state that although shifts in the nature of contact between families and schools have been described since the National Educational Goals Panel (1998), there is virtually no research that quantifies changes in teacher-family contact from preschool to kindergarten. Thus, there is still much to learn about how the transition shapes school-family relationships, the consequences of which may appear in families' willingness to participate in coordinated efforts to bolster children's progress.

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