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Ensuring School Readiness Through Successful Transitions

Webinar date: April 14, 2011, 2:003:30 p.m. (EDT)

The U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with United Way Worldwide, National PTA, SEDL, and Harvard Family Research Project, invites you to participate in the sixth webinar in our Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement series.

Ensuring School Readiness will explore how and why smooth transitions among early learning environments are critical for school readiness and are the first step toward preparing students for success in college and career. Presenters will focus on what it takes to foster continuity as children move from early learning programs to preschool to kindergarten, and will discuss the specific roles of early learning programs, schools, and families in preparing young children to enter school ready for success.

This webinar will highlight innovative practices, explore the range of supports and services offered to young children and their families, and emphasize how to help families understand how to remain involved in their child's education as the child moves into the early school grades.

Jacqueline Jones from the U.S. Department of Education will discuss the importance of successful early transitions to education reform. Sharon Ritchie from FirstSchool, a research–based preK–3rd grade initiative, will discuss "seamless education" and how to use data to improve practice. Judith Jerald from Save the Children will talk about developing early childhood programming with an eye toward facilitating transitions. And Whitcomb Hayslip will discuss how a Los Angeles-based transitional kindergarten initiative uses deliberate collaboration between teachers and families to prepare children for school success.

Presenters include:

  • Moderator: Tom Schultz, Project Director for Early Childhood Initiatives, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Jacqueline Jones, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Early Learning, U.S. Department of Education
  • Sharon Ritchie, Senior Scientist, FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Judith Jerald, Early Childhood Advisor, Save the Children
  • Whitcomb Hayslip, Early Childhood Education Consultant and Former Assistant Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District


Research-based Practice

  • Rapid Response—Early Childhood Curricula and Programs for PreK Students
    This resource, developed by the Southeast Comprehensive Center at SEDL, provides a list of research-based practices that program designers can use to support skill development in reading and math as children transition from home to preschool, kindergarten, and into the early grades.

  • Readiness: School, Family, and Community Connections
    SEDL’s synthesis of over 48 research studies explores children’s abilities as they transition from home to preschool and kindergarten, factors associated with these abilities, implications of these factors on children’s later success, and the effectiveness of interventions that include a family- or community-focus.

  • Developing Early Literacy, Report of the National Early Literacy Panel
    This report summarizes the scientific evidence of early literacy development and of home and family influences that support a child’s transition into kindergarten and the early grades. It is designed to help inform education leaders’ and policymakers’ decisions that support children’s transitions into school.

  • Resource Guide for Early Childhood Transitions
    This annotated bibliography lists resources that focus on early childhood transitions and school readiness, including family engagement and home–school and program–school partnerships. Because the Head Start program is one of the most frequently studied early childhood initiatives, many resources focus on the transition from Head Start to preschool and kindergarten.

Guidance on Implementation

  • Ongoing Child Assessment and Family Engagement: New Opportunities to Engage Families in Children’s Learning and Development
    This paper by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement explores using child assessment data as a tool for family engagement in early childhood education. It is the first in a series that will help early childhood care and education programs identify ways that they can share information to strengthen partnerships and work toward common goals.

  • Tools for Expanding Effective Early Childhood Education: A Companion to Five State Case Studies
    This toolkit was designed as a companion document to a study on effective early childhood programs, published by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The author uses findings from the report to describe effective practices and strategies for preparing young children for academic success.

  • Early Steps to School Success
    Early Steps to School Success (ESSS) is Save the Children’s language development and pre-literacy program. ESSS works to equip parents with the skills and knowledge to successfully support their child’s growth from pregnancy until the child enters kindergarten. Learn more about the program, including a curriculum overview, evaluation report, and model design, on Save the Children’s website.

  • FirstSchool Briefs
    This series of briefs, developed by the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, provides information on key topics related to children’s transitions from home to preschool, kindergarten, and into the early grades. For each topic, there is a printable brief as well as a short video.

Effective Practice

  • Parents’ Guides to Student Success
    National PTA created a set of grade-specific tools to help parents understand what their children will be learning in English language arts and in mathematics, based on the Common Core State Standards that more than 40 states have adopted. The Parents’ Guide to Student Success were created for each grade, from kindergarten through high school, and help set expectations for what students should learn once the standards are implemented. The guides for kindergarten through third grade can help facilitate successful transitions from early childhood programs to elementary school. All of the guides are available in both English and Spanish.

  • Book Review: Inviting Families into the Classrooms: Learning from a Life in Teaching
    This book provides readers with insights into family engagement from the perspective of someone with 31 years of experience teaching kindergarten, first, and second grade in Philadelphia public schools. While Inviting Families into the Classrooms discusses parent–teacher relationships more broadly, this review explores its valuable lessons on building relationships with families whose children are transitioning into elementary school.

  • Trans-K in LA and Fresno
    This video, posted by New America Media, provides an overview of a new early childhood program in the Los Angeles Unified and Fresno School Districts (CA). The program is intended to help young children transition into public school prepared for academic success. The video includes a description of program benefits, information about parents’ concerns about the needs of their young children, and a description of this program’s impact on students’ transitions to public school.

  • Early Learning Parenting Videos
    Developed by the Illinois Early Learning Project, these videos and accompanying explanations provide real-life examples of home-based adult–child interactions that foster learning and help young children prepare for the transition from home to school.

  • Transition to School
    This guidance resource provides detailed explanations and practical advice for parents on what to expect and what to do as young children transition into school.

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