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From preschool to kindergarten: Which practices help children transition?

EHE News
Tue, 2018-09-18 11:05

Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy to close research gap

Every child comes to kindergarten with varying levels of academic and social-emotional skills. Programs to smooth that transition from preschool proliferate.

Yet research has not shown which transition practices help our most at-risk children arrive at kindergarten better equipped.

To address that lack of research, EHE’s Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy has received a $3.3 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences. Laura Justice, EHE’s Distinguished Professor and Executive Director of the Crane Center, is the principal investigator.

With the results, “teachers and parents can make immediate adjustments to help their kids, and policymakers will know what types of programs to invest in,” said Kelly Purtell, assistant professor of human development and family sciences and a project co-investigator.

About 1,000 children to take part in the study

Crane Center researchers will study the effect of 24 specific transition practices used with children in the Kindergarten-Transition Intervention (KTI) program.

Approximately 100 Ohio preschools with 1,000 children in the Dayton and Cleveland areas plan to participate in the study over a five-year period.

Researchers will begin by examining children’s academic and social-behavioral development during preschool.

Later, researchers will focus on the children’s adjustments to public school kindergarten programs and their trajectories through the end of first grade. They will also conduct a cost-benefit study.

“We are eager to learn more about how well key interventions prepare children for schooling and life — and how we can better support early childhood educators, whose work is already so challenging,” said Justice.

Dayton Preschool Promise is one of the study partners. Robyn Lightcap, executive director of Preschool Promise, Inc., also is eager to learn what work to help teachers and families give their children a strong start to their public school education.

“We want to understand if home visits, visits to the kindergarten facility, monthly communication with parents, one-on-one dialogue, and other strategies seem to make a differential impact on children starting kindergarten fully ready,” she said.

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