Explore these resources to find further information and research in support of kindergarten transition efforts. The list includes practical guides, special topics, and relevant research.
Abry, T.; M. Taylor, M. Jimenez, M.E. Pratt, and J. Locasale-Crouch. "Continuity and Change in Low-income Children's Early Learning Experiences Across the School Transition: A Comparison of Head Start and Kindergarten Classrooms." Kindergarten Transition and Readiness: Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development) (2018): 85–109. Springer International Publishing.
Review common similarities and changes in children's early learning experiences between Head Start and kindergarten settings. This article highlights strengths in Head Start programs' transition practices, as well as typical areas of misalignment between preschool and kindergarten. It can be used to support school readiness among children enrolled in Head Start programs.
Ansari, A.; R. Crosnoe. "The Transition Into Kindergarten for English Language Learners." Kindergarten Transition and Readiness: Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development (2018): 185–204.
This article describes potential transition to kindergarten impacts that are unique to English language learner populations. It then explores implications for policy and intervention efforts in order to improve the transition experience for children who are dual language learners.
Arndt, J. S.; M. E. McGuire-Schwartz. "Early Childhood School Success: Recognizing Families as Integral Partners." Childhood Education, 84(5) (2008): 281–285.
Learn more about the importance of family involvement in children's school success. This article focuses on how to involve families in school readiness preparation and the kindergarten transition. It also examines some key components of family engagement, such as activities to make families feel welcome. When families feel supported, they become involved and work with professionals for the success of their children.
Colker, L. J. "Getting Ready for Readiness: Helping Preschoolers Make the Transition to Kindergarten." Teaching Young Children, 2(3) (2009): 24–27.
Find information for preschool teachers who are preparing their students for the transition to kindergarten. The article discusses recommended practices that involve children directly. It also presents the two primary approaches teachers can use to improve preschoolers' transition to kindergarten. These are to use a wide array of transition practices and communicate with kindergarten teachers about children's preschool experiences and individual needs.
Curby, T. W.; E. Berke, V. C. Alfonso, J. J. Blake, D. Demarie, G. J. Dupaul, R.L. Flores, R. Hess, K.A. Howard, J.C. Lepore, and R. F. Subotnik. "Transition Practices into Kindergarten and the Barriers Teachers Encounter." Kindergarten Transition and Readiness: Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development (2018): 249–264.
This brief presents findings from a survey of nearly 500 kindergarten teachers regarding barriers to implementing transition practices. Results indicate that existing school structures and difficulty communicating with parents are key barriers to implementing transition practices on the kindergarten classroom level.
Gooden, C.& B. Rous, "Effective Transitions to Kindergarten for Children with Disabilities." Kindergarten Transition and Readiness: Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development (2018): 141–162.
Examine four key components of the kindergarten transition process for students with disabilities and discover research-based practices for improving transitions and transition policy.
Fenlon, A. "Collaborative Steps: Paving the Way to Kindergarten for Young Children with Disabilities." Young Children. 60(2) (2005): 32–67.
Written from the perspectives of a parent and district administrator, this article offers both commentary and a case study approach to the preschool-to-kindergarten transition. It emphasizes the importance of a collaborative, coordinated approach in this process.
Ferguson, C.; L. Wood . Easing the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten: What Schools and Families Can Do to Address Child Readiness [PDF, 263KB]. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 2005.
This strategy brief from the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools describes concrete steps schools can take to involve families in the transition process.
Pears, K. C.; E. Peterson. "Recognizing and Addressing the Effects of Early Adversity on Children's Transitions to Kindergarten." Kindergarten Transition and Readiness: Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development (2018): 163–183.
Explore the three most common sources of early adversity affecting children's transitions to kindergarten. This article emphasizes the importance of early intervention and identifies implications for educators.
Skinner, E. "Children's Developmental Needs During the Transition to Kindergarten: What Can Research on Social-Emotional, Motivational, Cognitive, and Self-Regulatory Development Tell Us?" Kindergarten Transition and Readiness: Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development (2018): 31–57.
This research brief discusses changes taking place in the normative development of preschool and kindergarten children. It draws together the developmental domains and identifies children's developmental needs during the kindergarten transition period.
Zulfiqar, N.; J. LoCasale-Crouch, B.S weeney, J. DeCoster, K.M. Rudasill, C. McGinnis, I. Acar, and K. Miller. "Transition Practices and Children's Development During Kindergarten: The Role of Close Teacher-Child Relationships." Kindergarten Transition and Readiness: Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development (2018): 265–281.
Examine the role of close teacher–child relationships, specifically coupled with transition practices during the kindergarten transition. Learn more about the association between quality teacher-child relationships and children's academic and social growth during the kindergarten year.
Epstein, J. L.; M. G. Sanders, S. B. Sheldon, S B. imon, K. C. Salinas, N. R. Jansorn, and F. L. Van Voorhis. School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action. (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008.
This research-based framework guides state and district leaders, school principals, teachers, parents, and community partners to form action teams for partnerships.
Mashburn, A. J.; J. LoCasale-Crouch, and K. C. Pears. Kindergarten Transition and Readiness: Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development. New York, NY: Springer Science Business Media, 2018.
Explore a comprehensive overview of current research on the transition to kindergarten, including for special populations. Find evidence-based and specifically targeted strategies for improving transition practices.
Pianta, R.C.; M. Kraft-Sayre. Successful Kindergarten Transition: Your Guide to Connecting Children, Families, and Schools. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc., 2003.
This book describes a developmental, ecological, and collaborative model (Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 1999) to transitions and the steps required to put this model into action. The text is supplemented with quotes from families and school personnel and concludes with lessons from the field.
Rous, B. S.; R. A. Hallam, . Tools for Transition in Early Childhood: A Step-by-Step Guide for Agencies, Teachers, & Families. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc., 2006.
Review a step-by-step model for transitions. This book is written for professionals from different early childhood programs who have an interest in implementing and maintaining collaborative transition practices across different settings.
Sullivan-Dudzic, L.; D. K. Gearns, and K. Leavell. Making a Difference: Ten Essential Steps to Building a Pre-K–3 System. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2010.
Learn ways to connect early childhood education standards and goals to a pre-K–3 system that involves community early education providers and ensures that young learners receive a high-quality foundation for their education. Review a 10-step, field-tested model that demonstrates how early childhood professionals and K–12 school leaders can implement an integrated pre-K–3 system that:
- Identifies both families' and children's needs
- Shares developmental information about individual learning skills and social and emotional development as children transition to kindergarten
- Aligns resources, curriculum, instruction, and assessments
- Anticipates challenges and celebrates successes
- Invites input from superintendents, state officials, Head Start leaders, and Title 1 directors
Bowman, B. T.; P. A. Cottone. Transition: Change with Continuity: A Handbook for Teachers. Chicago, Ill: Chicago Public Schools Office of Early Childhood Education, 2005.
Transition is an ongoing process that requires involvement of both preschool and kindergarten staff. This handbook is intended to assist classroom staff. It is not a transition plan, but rather a guide to facilitate planning.
Joseph, G. E. Introducing me. Olympia, WA: The Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS), 2011.
An "Introducing Me" booklet is embedded in the preliminary reportof the WaKIDS pilot project (pg. 56). Teachers can use it to obtain information from parents whose children are entering kindergarten. The booklet includes sections on the child's favorite toy, parents' names, and things the child does and does not like to do. It is available in English and Spanish.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. Family Engagement and Ongoing Child Assessment. Washington, DC, n.d.
Review a practical guide for Head Start staff as they prepare to share data with families. It offers strategies and tips and describes what data should look like and how to share the information. While not specifically centered on transitions, as noted in the introduction, successful data-sharing at the preschool level will likely empower parents to share and ask for data in kindergarten and beyond.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children and Family, Office of Head Start. Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework. Washington, DC, 2011.
This framework provides programs with a research-based, organizational guide for implementing Head Start Program Performance Standards around parent, family, and community engagement. It is a vital tool for early childhood education and care providers seeking to build effective family engagement strategies. One of the outcomes in the framework is "Family Engagement in Transitions."
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start. Family Engagement in Transitions. Washington, DC, 2019.
Find guidance for supporting and involving families in transitions during early childhood.
Loewenberg, Aaron. Connecting the Steps: State Strategies to Ease the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten. New America, 2017.
This guide includes a collection of case studies on states' transition to kindergarten policies, along with a list of practical recommendations for states looking to develop kindergarten transition efforts.
Pennsylvania Key. Transition to Kindergarten Toolkit. Harrisburg, PA, 2009.
Explore valuable information on early childhood transitions, including how to engage all stakeholders in the transition process. Learn how to foster connections between children, families, communities, and schools. Practical tools are provided, such as sample letters to families, readiness surveys, and steps to creating a public service announcement.
The Reddy Freddy Program. Reddy Freddy: Pathways to Kindergarten Success. Pittsburgh: PA: University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, 2012.
Discover a wealth of free resources for both families and practitioners, such as an online interactive book for children and a learning activity calendar. A video on getting children ready for kindergarten includes interviews with parents about their experiences sending their children to school. Other materials address issues surrounding kindergarten transition, like building transition teams, engaging parents and schools in transition planning, and the importance of school attendance.
Capistrano Unified School District. From Kindergartener to Kindergartener: What It's Important to Know. (n.d.)
This video provides an introduction to kindergarten for children from a child's perspective.
National Centers:Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Last Updated: June 10, 2020