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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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FINE Newsletter, Volume VII, Issue 1
Issue Topic: Engaging Families, Schools, and Communities in the Transition to School

HFRP Research & Resources

The research below has informed Harvard Family Research Project’s thinking about the transition to kindergarten and was cited in Four Important Things Research Tells Us About the Transition to School.

Ahtola, A., Silinskas, G., Poikonen, P., Kontoniemi, M., Niemi, P., & Nurmi, J. (2011). Transition to formal schooling: Do transition practices matter for academic performance? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 295–302. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.12.002

Berlin, L., Dunning, R., & Dodge, K. (2011). Enhancing the transition to kindergarten: A randomized trial to test the efficacy of the “Stars” summer kindergarten orientation program. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 247–254. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.07.004

Child Trends. (2014). Preschool and prekindergarten: Indicators on children and youth. Retrieved from:

Cooper, C. E., Crosnoe, R., Suizzo, M. A., & Pituch, K. A. (2010). Poverty, race, and parental involvement during the transition to elementary school. Journal of Family Issues, 31(7), 859–883. doi:10.1177/0192513X09351515

Cowan, P. A., & Cowan, C. P. (2014). The role of parents in children’s school transition. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, 1–6.

Crosnoe, R., & Cooper, C.E. (2010). Economically disadvantaged children’s transitions into elementary school: Linking family processes, school contexts, and educational policy. American Educational Research Journal, 47, 258–291. doi:10.3102/0002831209351564

Dearing, E., Kreider, H., Simpkins, S., & Weiss, H. B. (2006). Family involvement in school and low-income children’s literacy performance: Longitudinal associations between and within families. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 653–664. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.98.4.653

DeCaro, J. A., & Worthman, C. M. (2011). Changing family routines at kindergarten entry predict biomarkers of parental stress. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35, 441–448. doi:10.1177/0165025411406853

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.

Gonzalez, R. L., & Jackson, C. L. (2013). Engaging with parents: The relationship between school engagement efforts, social class, and learning. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 24, 316–335. doi:10.1080/09243453.2012.680893

Harvard Family Research Project (2002). Questions & answers: Robert Pianta talks about kindergarten transition. Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE) Newsletter. Retrieved from

Hindman, A. H., Skibbe, L. E., & Morrison, F. J. (2013). Teacher outreach to families across the transition to school: An examination of teachers’ practices and their unique contributions to children’s early academic outcomes. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41, 391–399. doi:10.1007/s10643-010-0410-4

Iruka, I. U., Gardner-Neblett, N., Matthews, J. S., and Winn, D.-M. C. (2014). Preschool to kindergarten transition patterns for African American boys. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(2), 106–117. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2013.11.004

Kreider, H. (2002). Getting parents “ready” for kindergarten: The role of early childhood education. Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE) Newsletter. Retrieved from:

Lee, V., & Burkham, D. (2002). Inequality at the starting gate: Social background differences in achievement as children begin school. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.

LoCasale-Crouch, J., Mashburn, A. J., Downer, J. T., & Pianta, R. C. (2008). Pre-kindergarten teachers’ use of transition practices and children’s adjustment to kindergarten. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23,124–139. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2007.06.001

Mashburn, A. J., & Pianta, R. C. (2006). Social relationships and school readiness. Early Education and Development, 17(1), 151–176. doi:10.1207/s15566935eed1701_7

McIntyre, L. L., Eckert, T. L., Fiese, B. H., DiGennaro, F. D., & Wildenger, L. K. (2007). The transition to kindergarten: Family experiences and involvement. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35, 83–88. doi:10.1007/s10643-013-0593-6

Miller, K. (2014). The transition to kindergarten: How families from lower-income backgrounds experienced the first year. Early Childhood Education Journal, 1–9. doi:10.1007/s10643-014-0650-9  

Munz, E. A., & Wilson, S. R. (2014). Caregiver confirmation and children’s attachment security during the transition to kindergarten. Communication Research, 41, 1–23. doi:10.1177/0093650214534966

National Center for Education Statistics (2013). The condition of education 2013.

Pianta, R. C., Cox, M. J., & Snow, K. L. (2007). School readiness and the transition to kindergarten in the era of accountability. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Pianta, R.C., & Kraft-Sayre, M. (2003). Successful kindergarten transition: Your guide to connecting children, families, and schools. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Powell, D. R., Son, S., File, N., & Froiland, J. M. (2012). Changes in parent involvement across the transition from public school prekindergarten to first grade and children’s academic outcomes. The Elementary School Journal, 113(2), 276–300. doi:10.1086/667726

Powell, D., Son, S., File, N., & Juan, R. (2010). Parent–school relationships and children’s academic and social outcomes in public school pre-kindergarten. Journal of School Psychology, 48, 269–293. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2010.03.002

Puccioni, J. (2015). Parents’ conceptions of school readiness, transition practices, and children’s academic achievement trajectories. The Journal of Educational Research, 108(2), 130–147. doi:10.1080/00220671.2013.850399

Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Pianta, R. C. (1999). Patterns of family-school contact in preschool and kindergarten. School Psychology Review, 28(3), 426–438.

Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Pianta, R. C. (2000). An ecological perspective on the transition to kindergarten: A theoretical framework to guide empirical research. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21(5), 491–511. doi:10.1016/S0193-3973(00)00051-4

Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Pianta, R. C., Cox, M. J., & Bradley, R. (2003). Teacher-rated family involvement and children’s social and academic outcomes in kindergarten. Early Education and Development, 14(2), 179–198. doi:10.1207/s15566935eed1402_3

Schulting, A. B. (2008). Promoting parent-school relationships during the transition to kindergarten. The Evaluation Exchange, 14(1&2), 8. Retrieved from:

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. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.41.6.860

Wildenger, L. K., & McIntyre, L. L. (2011). Family concerns and involvement during kindergarten transition. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20(4), 387–396. doi:10.1007/s10826-010-9403-6

Wildenger, L. K., McIntyre, L. L., Fiese, B. H., & Eckert, T. L. (2008). Children’s daily routines during kindergarten transition. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36(1), 69–74. doi:10.1007/s10643-008-0255-2


This resource is part of the March FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family engagement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the archives of past issues, please visit

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