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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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Welcome to the Bridging Worlds Interactive Case!
The Bridging Worlds Interactive Case focuses on the transition to kindergarten, a significant event for children and their families, and a time of change and challenge. Children who are leaving home for the first time face the excitement and uncertainty of experiencing their first school setting, whereas children who have participated in early childhood programs often have to adapt to a new schedule and environment, with different expectations than they may be used to. Families are also adapting to a new environment, schedule, and expectations. In the field of education, the transition to kindergarten is increasingly understood within the broader context of school readiness, which involves preparing children and families to enter the elementary school setting up through third grade.

What you will learn
The purpose of this case is to give educators an opportunity to consider the transition to kindergarten, the components of a successful transition, and ways to engage families in the transition process. You will learn:

  • What the transition to kindergarten means;
  • How different settings, including early childhood programs, elementary schools, families, and community-based organizations, can share responsibility and plan  to ensure smooth transitions for children and families; 
  • The nature of the transition to kindergarten as a continuous process that begins well before formal schooling starts and persists throughout the kindergarten year, or longer; and
  • How data and larger educational contexts shape the transition to school.

On the pages that follow, you will be introduced to the five people in the case. After you read each person’s narrative, you will have a chance to reflect on her strengths and concerns. You can type your reflections right into the space provided on the webpage. A pop-up box will appear with some ideas you might have written about. You can then move on to reading about the next person in the case and reflect on her ideas. Along the way you will be provided with some supplementary data to consider. When you have completed reading all of the perspectives, you will have a chance to take a step back and think about the bigger issues presented in the case.

illustration of Maya's mother illustration of Teresa Guzman illustration of Tanya Robinson small image of a data table illustration of Esther Lasher  
illustration of the people in the Bridging Worlds Case
Let's get started!
Maya Maya’s mother Preschool teacher

Kindergarten teacher

Supporting data Educational director

Piecing it all together

Explore our Family Engagement Teaching Cases series and find out more about our Interactive Cases. The full-length version of the Bridging Worlds case is available on our website. The original case is featured in the book Preparing Educators to Engage Families: Case Studies Using an Ecological Systems Framework, 3rd edition, available for purchase from Sage Publications.

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project