Goal Setting

Step 5: Tell us your goal (text-based image)

Setting too many goals at the same time can be overwhelming. As you get started, we suggest setting one specific goal for engaging families during the transition to school.

As you create your goal, consider some of the following:

  • Did any of the readings (or video, if you watched it) from the web field trip inspire you to think differently about the transition to school? If so, how did they encourage you to direct your transition efforts in a new way?
  • Do you need to establish stronger partnerships with libraries, LEAs, or other community organizations to help families successfully transition to school?
  • Do you need to form a transition team whose members represent the different educational, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds of children and families in the community?
  • Do you need to coordinate services for children and families that will be leaving your program?
  • Do you need to assess how families perceive the usefulness of your existing transition practices?

Setting yourself up for success starts with setting a goal is that it is “SMART”:


What exactly are you going to do? Trying to talk to families more frequently about the upcoming transition may sound specific, but  actually, calling one parent each day is even more specific. The more specific you are, the better able you are to take stock of your progress — that is, it helps you with “M” —


How are you going to evaluate your progress? Most goals can be measured either by counting (Did I do this once per day?) or by rating yourself on a scale of 1-5 (How well did I do this today?).


Are you able to achieve this goal? Is it realistic? Ask yourself if this is the right time for you to attempt this particular goal. If you are unsure, consider lowering the bar for yourself slightly and save the bigger goal for next time.


Does this goal really help you address the main issue? If not, how can you get to the heart of the problem more directly?


What is your time frame for carrying out your plan for achieving this goal? Different goals require different time frames; two or three weeks might be a reasonable amount of time for some, while others might require more time. At that point, you can revise your goal as needed or create a new one.

What’s your SMART goal for engaging families during the transition? Tell us in the comments!

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5 Responses to Goal Setting

  1. Pingback: Overview | Let's Talk Transition! Family Engagement During the Transition to School

  2. S – listen to parents – they have a lot of cultural capital to share
    M – how many parents do we listen to? and how often?
    A – yes, more achievable than usual meetings. Have meetings at different times/places
    R – Oh so relevant! Rethinking the home/school communication process
    T- time goal – a year to get my program and ideas out to schools – anyone interested?

    • I wonder how we can be more intentional about listening to parents. This sounds to me like the most important idea, but how to turn that into a concrete, measureable goal is the challenge. In my teacher education program we are teaching mindfulness practices to preservice teachers to try to help them learn more about being present with others….really listening and attending to parents and students. How do we make a specific plan to do this? Daily?

  3. ljgreen says:

    I would like to assess the usefulness of transition activities. So my goal for next year is to develop a survey that I can send out in the late fall that asks families how they felt during the transition process. If I am able to develop and administer the survey in the fall or early winter, I can still maybe develop some materials or activities for the rest of the year. My goal is to administer this survey one time next year and to get about half of the families to respond. I’ve had pretty good electronic communication with families in the past, so maybe I’ll send out a version by email as well as sending home a paper copy.

  4. Maggie says:

    I’m a former kindergarten teacher, preschool director and currently, the parent of a kindergartener. Despite my professional background I was still nervous about my daughter starting kindergarten: Would she have the skills she needed? Would she make friends? Would I get her out of house in time for the first bell? Where would I park?!?

    More than anything, what eased my worries was my first meeting with my daughter’s kindergarten teacher a few days before school started. I dropped by the classroom (with the school secretary’s permission!) to give my daughter a peek at her new school and lo and behold Mrs. B was there setting up. She dropped everything and gave my daughter the biggest smile and from there I knew she was in good hands.

    If I could set one goal for my former self as a kindergarten teacher (and perhaps a goal for others to adopt) it would be to individually meet over the phone or in-person all children’s parents before the first week of school ends. If you can do it on a home visit all the better! This is such a big step in giving you, the teacher, a clearer sense of the strengths of your incoming kindergartener, opportunities for growth, and a terrific way to make your families feel welcome in a new bustling environment.

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