All Children in
the U.S. should be provided the opportunity to:
Receive supports as determined
by their individual needs including planned transitions into kindergarten and
from kindergarten to first grade.
Children, especially young children, have
their own individual needs (and strengths) across all domains – cognitive,
language/literacy, social-emotional, physical, and approaches to
learning. They also come from
different cultural, linguistic, and other contexts. To understand a child’s
individual needs, a teacher must be aware of the contexts the child comes
from, child him/herself (language, culture, etc.), the child’s family, and
the child’s community.
Planned transitions ensure children receive
stable and consistent learning environments. For children, the classroom environment,
standards they are held to, and the instructional practices they receive
should be aligned as they move through different early childhood settings.
Families are consulted and have relationships with educators to ensure smooth
transitions. Educators are able to
work across together across settings (i.e., pre-k to kindergarten) and
families to plan transitions for children.
How can teachers and schools
provide supports to kindergarten children based on their individual needs?
Training is essential.
Teachers must be prepared to assess a child’s needs and use their
judgment and knowledge to adjust or change their instruction to support the
child. Schools should provide an
environment that supports teachers, such as professional development, and
bring together parents, teachers, and others involved in children’s education
environments to determine children’s needs and how to support them.
Why are transitions important
As children move from early learning experiences to kindergarten, the
policies, curriculum, pedagogy, the role of parents, and what is expected of
children are often disjointed.
Kindergarten serves as “the ‘pivot’ year, serving as the pedagogical
bridge between PreK and the early elementary grades.”[i]
The benefits of creating a smooth transitions across the early childhood
years has been shown by research[ii]
and practice in the field.[iii] Research shows that planned transitions
that bridge across the different developmental contexts children experience
as they move between settings are essential to building upon early learning
experiences for long-term improved child outcomes.[iv]
How can policy support planned
Policy is key in creating a unified system that supports planned
transitions such as aligning standards, fostering closer communication
between early childhood settings and kindergarten, transition planning in
teams at schools, and engaging parents in the transition process. Teacher and administrator training, through
pre- and in-service training can prepare early childhood settings and schools
to effectively engage with parents.
Bohan-Baker, M., & Little, P. (2002). The Transition to Kindergarten : A Review of Current Research and Promising Practices to Involve
Families. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project. Retrieved from http://www.hfrp.org/publications-resources/browse-our-publications/the-transition-to-kindergarten-a-review-of-current-research-and-promising-practices-to-involve-families
Kauerz, K. (2010). PreK-3rd:
Putting full-day kindergarten in the middle. New York, NY: Foundation for
Ladd, G. W., & Kochenderfer, B. J. (1996). Linkages between
friendship and adjustment during early school transitions. In W. M. Bukowski,
A. F. Newcomb & W.W. Hartup (Eds.) The
company they keep: Friendship in childhood
and adolescence. Cambridge studies in social and emotional development
(pp. 322-345). New York, NY, U.S.: Cambridge University Press.
National Education Goals Panel. (1998). Ready schools. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Pianta, R. C., Cox M. J., & Snow, K. (2007). School readiness and the transition to kindergarten in the era of
accountability. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.
Reynolds, A. J., Magnuson, K. A., & Ou, S. (2010).
Preschool-to-third grade programs and practices: A review of research. Children and Youth Services Review, 32,
Schulting, A. B., Malone, P. S., & Dodge, K. A. (2005). The
effect of school-based kindergarten transition policies and practices on child academic outcomes. Developmental Psychology, 41(6), 860–871.
Tout, K., Halle, T., Daily, S., Albertson-Junkans, L., and Moodie, S.
(2013). The research base for a birth
through age eight state policy framework. Bethesda, MD: Child Trends.
Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/?publications=the-research-base-for-a-birth-through-eight-state-policy-framework-2
Bohan-Baker & Little, 2002; National Education Goals Panel, 1998; Pianta, Cox
, & Snow, 2007.
For examples of local districts implementing birth to third grade approaches,
Reynolds, Magnuson, & Ou, 2010.