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With summer in full swing, we know that many early childhood programs, schools, and communities are in the final stages of planning for a milestone that will impact nearly 4 million students and their families—the first day of kindergarten. Here are some resources organized around quality transition practices that can help make the first day, and those beyond, smooth and successful.   

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Offering professional learning opportunities around transition
Educators need knowledge, skills, and confidence to implement successful transition practices. On August 2, 2016, from 3:30–5 p.m. EDT, the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest will be hosting a webinar titled Preschool to Kindergarten: Successfully Navigating the Transition, to provide participants access to current research on the importance of the transition from prekindergarten to kindergarten programs and what quality transition planning looks like. To register for the event, visit:

Supporting parent confidence and leadership through information
Research shows that parents of incoming kindergarten students need information about a host of factors, including curriculum, expectations, and what they can do to help their children succeed. To help families obtain this information, Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Center for Early Learning has a number of resources to help ease families’ transition into the early elementary school system, including videos and an easy to-read family guide to starting kindergarten, Are You Ready? A Parent’s Guide to Starting Kindergarten, accessible in a print-ready file to communities at no charge! Communities can customize the handbook to include information from their own local areas. To receive the print-ready file, simply email Silicon Valley Community Foundation's Center for Early Learning a short description of your community and your distribution plan.

Connecting families to learning opportunities beyond school hours
Transition is a time when children begin to take part in an increasing number of learning settings—both in and outside of school. For this reason, connecting families to out-of-school learning settings, such as libraries and afterschool programs, is critical. The video The Transition to Afterschool: One City’s Approach to Connecting Young Children and Their Families to Learning and Enrichment Opportunities demonstrates how Cambridge, Massachusetts, is helping to connect families to afterschool learning and enrichment opportunities prior to school entry.

Libraries and museums are complementing the efforts of early childhood programs to prepare children for kindergarten. The Boston Children’s Museum hosts an exhibit that is an actual kindergarten classroom. Based on this experience, it offers other Massachusetts museums and libraries a step-by-step guide to create a “pop-up” classroom. Resources to promote family-educator partnerships in transition include a guidebook, activity packet, and related materials.

Providing summer programs
Summer camp is a great way to get children comfortable in a new school setting before the school year begins. In this previously recorded webinar, How Families, Schools, and Communities Are Reshaping Family Engagement to Reach All Learners, Betsy Nikolchev and Carmen Ponce of the Family Engagement Institute talk about Stretch to Kindergarten (STK), a tuition-free parent participation kindergarten readiness program offered over the spring and summer for children with limited experience in formal early childhood settings.

And there’s more! Link to the entire list of HFRP transition resources at:

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