|Citation:||La Paro, K. M., Kraft-Sayre, M., & Pianta, R. C. (2003). Preschool to kindergarten transition activities: Involvement and satisfaction of families and teachers. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 17, 147-158.|
Information presented in this study was collected as part of the National Center for Early Learning and DevelopmentÕs Kindergarten Transition Project. The study presents descriptive findings on the types of transition activities used by preschool and kindergarten teachers in settings where there is substantial support for such practices. The Kindergarten Transition Project was a two-year intervention in which family workers and teachers implemented transition activities throughout the year, such as inviting preschool children to kindergarten classrooms, developing individualized relationships with families, and fostering parentsÕ use of readiness-enhancing practices at home. During the first project year, researchers collected data on 95 children, their families, and their preschool and teachers; in the second year, data were collected on 86 of these children and their families and kindergarten teachers. About two-thirds of the children were African American; most of the rest were White, with small numbers of Hispanic children and children from other unspecified ethnic groups. Data collection included parent interviews and teacher questionnaires throughout the two project years. Information addressed familiesÕ and teachersÕ participation in, and perceptions of, transition activities. The study did not collect outcome data for participating children, nor was there a comparison group. The utility of this study, then, is limited to descriptive information regarding familiesÕ and teachersÕ activities and perceptions regarding transition practices; it does not speak to program effectiveness, either in increasing the use of transition practices or in the impact of those practices on childrenÕs transition. The very small sample of teachers Ñ 10 preschool and 10 kindergarten teachers Ñ is also a limitation for this study. The study found that more than 50 percent of families reported participating in almost all of the transition activities that were offered to them, and most characterized these activities as helpful in supporting their childÕs transition. The school-based transition activity in which families most frequently participated was the childÕs visit to a kindergarten classroom; the least frequent activity was attending a kindergarten orientation. The barrier to participating in school-based transition activities most frequently reported by parents was a conflict with their work schedules. Transition activities that most parents did at home included teaching their child school-related skills, such as learning their address and home phone number, talking with other parents about the kindergarten experience, discussing behavioral expectations with their children, and talking about meeting new classmates. In terms of school staffs, both preschool and kindergarten teachers participated in a variety of transition activities, though kindergarten teachersÕ participation was Òsomewhat lowerÓ than preschool teachersÕ.
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