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Citation:Pianta, R. C., Cox, M. J., Taylor, L., & Early, D. (1999). Kindergarten teachers' practices related to the transition to school: Results of a national survey. Elementary School Journal, 100(1), 71-86.

The purpose of this study is to examine kindergarten transition issues concerning the readiness of schools to ensure student success. The barriers that school personnel face were largely unknown, and the study sought to identify barriers to implementing transition practices. The study found that nearly all schools used some practices related to the transition into kindergarten. The most frequently reported practices were those that took place after the start of school or involved low intensity, generic contact. The most frequently reported practice was talking with the childÕs parent after school started (95% of teachers). Practices that involved school personnel having direct contact with children or families were among the least frequently reported, as were practices that involved contact with children or families before the start of school. In urban schools with high percentages of minority and low SES students, teachers reported personal contacts less often, while reporting greater use of low-intensity school contacts occurring after school had started. Teachers identified a number of barriers to implementing transition to school practices. Most common among them were that class lists were generated too late to make contacts with families before the start of school, summer work was not supported, and a plan for the transition to kindergarten was not available in the school district. The data for this study were drawn from a national sample of 3,595 kindergarten teachers who had completed the National Center for Early Development and Learning survey. The study may be informative when considering options for effective transition-to-school practices. One limitation of this study is the relatively low return rate, which calls into question whether the sample is representative. Furthermore, only teachersÕ views of the transition process are reported. For a more accurate picture, future studies could include views of parents and administrators. The authors state that teachersÕ responses were constrained by the lists that were provided on the survey, but that there may have been a wider range of practices and barriers that were not revealed.

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