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Citation:Ramey, S. L., Lanzi, R. G., Phillips, M. M., & Ramey, C. T. (1998). Perspectives of former Head Start children and their parents on school and the transition to school. Elementary School Journal, 98(4), 311-327. EJ561638 .

This study uses a social, ecological, and transitional framework to look at parentsÕ and childrenÕs perspectives on their transition to school. All children were former Head Start participants. Children were categorized into two groups: those with less positive experiences (provided the lowest rating on one item and mid to low rating on the other item) and those with more positive experiences (all remaining students). Results indicated that the overwhelming majority of former Head Start children reported liking school and getting along with their teacher. Most children reported that to them doing well in school was very important. Few children were in the less positive group (7%). Children in the less positive group reported that they did not try as hard, that their teachers were less skilled in helping them learn new things, and that they did not get along very well with their teacher or other children in the school. Fewer than half of those in the less positive group said that doing well in school was important to them or to their parents. Boys were significantly more likely than girls to be in the less positive group. Data were collected as part of the evaluation of the National Head Start/ Public School Early Childhood Transition Demonstration Project. Data were collected through interviews and assessments of parents and children and teacher ratings. Subjects included 4,284 kindergarten students who were former Head Start participants. The sample was primarily low SES and included White/non-Hispanic (53%), African American (27%), and Hispanic/Latino (9%) subjects. Measures included: family ecology (demographics, depression), child characteristics (vocabulary, academic competence), and perceptions of adjustment and attitudes toward school (interviews with both parents and students). This study is a descriptive study and so causal inferences are not appropriate.

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