Resource Exploration

Step 2: Go on a (web) field trip (text-based image)

We hope that you will use this board, in part, to find inspiration in existing resources. Select and explore one or two of the resources linked below:

Resources:

  1. Ready for Success: Creating Collaborative and Thoughtful Transitions into Kindergarten
  2. Family Engagement in Transitions: Transition to Kindergarten
  3. A New Approach to Transitions: Welcoming Families and Their Ideas Into Kindergarten Classrooms
  4. Parenting Plays a Key Role as African American Boys Move From Preschool to Kindergarten
  5. Transitions: A Community Perspective on Transitioning into Kindergarten (video)

In the comments, tell us:

  • What new ideas and strategies did you learn from your reading or video viewing?
  • Based on what you read or heard, what do you see as the main barriers facing families during the transition? Facing children? Teachers? Community members?
  • Have you encountered similar barriers in your transition work with families and children? If so, how did you handle them?
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13 Responses to Resource Exploration

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

  2. I agree with the comments in the one video about the transition to Kindergarten being a culture shock for parents who have been somewhat sheltered in a Head Start program.
    In our program we begin Transition Packets the child first class day with us. So for those children coming in at 3 years old they will have two years worth of sample work and progress to share with the Kindergarten teacher. Parents are instructed to ask for the packets back once school starts as a portfolio of their child’s preschool experience. I see our child transition experience as well rounded with the transition packet, field trip day to the Kindergarten classrooms and many discussions with the children of what is to come next.
    As for the parents I still see where much work is needed. We invite each local school district to send a representative to meet with the transitioning parents in March each year. This allows parents time to ask questions (we help them develop a list), understand the process for registering for Kindergarten (what documents they may need) and to make a connection with someone at the school. We also provide parents with a Handbook in the beginning that has many Transition resources in it for them review.
    After watching and reading the materials here I would like to see more connections made for parents; PTA president, school counselor, secretary just to name a few. The more connections we can help them make the more successful they will be once they leave our program.

    • fineteam says:

      Tina, I love that your thinking about connections. You mentioned that a school district rep meets with transitioning parents each year. Does anyone else from the school side present at or attend this meeting? Parents of students who have already transitioned? Teachers? Is the list that you generated at the end of your post (PTA president, school counselor, and secretary) other roles that you’re thinking of inviting to that meeting? I can’t wait to hear more as you think this through.

      • In the past it has been whomever the school has available; Principal, Assistant, Secretary. We try each year to have the Kindergarten teachers come to the meeting but due to their contracts it has not occurred yet! I am hopeful that as regulations are changing for districts and the mandates include early learning we will have more participation/ opportunities. Our program is currently moving toward a peer mentor program where parents would be trained and mentored to assist other families through the processes involved with Head Start, transitioning would be a major focus in the planning.

  3. In this _ Ready for Success: Creating Collaborative and Thoughtful Transitions into Kindergarten I wonder if the teams are only set up at major change times in the school calendar such as the start of school and the January start times. Or are the teams in place to handle the one off child who’s parents just transferred? I feel the children who arrive after school has already started are often just left up to the classroom teacher to provide the support needed. It would be nice to know that no matter when a child arrived at school that their unique needs would be met and monitored in Kindergarten.

    • fineteam says:

      Julia – great question. From the transition teams with whom I’ve spoken, once they’re established, they meet regularly throughout the school year (and in to the next). Most transition teams view the transition as a process (rather than a single event) and do things throughout the year to prepare themselves, families, and children for it. If you have access to a copy, I recommend Pianta, R. C., & Kraft-Sayre, M. (2003). Successful kindergarten transition: Your guide to connecting children, families, and schools. Baltimore: Brookes.They have a great section on “Planning the Transition” which includes a lot information on forming teams. You can also check out: http://www.readyfreddy.org/for-schools-and-communities/transition-teams/

      I’m also curious to know how transition teams support families and children who enter after the start of the school year. I think this could easily fall under the duties of the transition team, but I haven’t heard about this happening. Let me know if you learn about teams that are doing this and I’ll do the same. -Christine

  4. Rebecca Grube says:

    I read Family Engagement in Transitions: Transition to Kindergarten and completely agree. In my experience, there typically is no official transitioning into kindergarten. Several ideas were provided in this resource and I think it will be very helpful as our organization prepares to merge our early childhood program with our school aged-program to create a prenatal-10 continuum.

    If I had to sum it up, I would say that it all comes down to communication. There must be communication between pre-K programs and kindergarten, not only to inform the kindergarten teachers of what the child has been doing and is seemingly capable of, but also to inform the pre-K programs of what is expected in kindergarten so that pre-K teachers are informed and can keep that in mind as they plan their programs; between parents of pre-K students and kindergarten teachers, as they discuss the children’s strengths and needs, and more importantly, build relationships from the very beginning; and between community and education leaders, and families of pre-k students so that families know what is expected and how to access what they need as they transition their children into kindergarten and so that leaders know what parents expect for their children and are better informed as they make important decisions.

    While communication itself is free, the time it takes is not. Teachers in the public school setting and many pre-K teachers are confined by their contracts and unions that don’t allow for additional time that is needed to make transitions smoother and easier for all involved, especially for the children and their families. Educational leaders need to recognize that this communication is invaluable and the benefits are worth the funding and time spent. Sadly, until that happens, I doubt that consistent transition programs will become a reality in public school settings.

    • fineteam says:

      Rebecca – You made several important points here and hinted at the components that are important to a successful transition. Effective transition strategies typically have three components – relationships (collaboration among families, preschool staff, school staff, afterschool staff, and community members), continuity (alignment of preschool and school curricula, standards, and practices; consistent routines at home), and information. But, as you said, making sure these components are in place takes time and resources. Oftentimes, buy-in from leadership and a district-wide plan for the use of this time and these resources is necessary.

      What do you see your role being in the transition process as an afterschool provider? How, if at all, do you share information about your programming with schools and families during the transition process? As you know, for many families the transition to school is also a transition to afterschool. -Christine

      • Rebecca Grube says:

        This is a great question! I just started in this position, which is a new position in and of itself, on January 6! We are working towards bringing our Early Childhood (EC) and our School-Aged Afterschool (AS) programs together as a seamless P-10 continuum, whereby we will transition the families with whom we work from the EC program into kindergarten. How that will be accomplished is yet to be decided, though. We are just starting the discussions!

        I would think that the EC and SA coordinators would communicate regularly and meet periodically with parents in the other group; the AS coordinator would meet with the EC parents several times before the transition happens to “build a bridge” and the EC coordinator would meet with the AS parents during their kindergarten year to find out what they would recommend to soon-to-be transitioning parents. Maybe bringing the families together would be beneficial so that the EC parents can find out what to expect from the AS parents.

        That is just a start, as I have yet to learn more about our EC program and its components. I do know that not all communities have both programs, so our transitioning opportunities there would be severely limited to what the school district provides.

        • fineteam says:

          Rebecca – We’re so glad that you’re here, ready to learn, and take on new challenges as you hit the 2 month mark at your job! I love that you’re already thinking through how to bring together different groups of people. I’ve heard about several programs that hold “panel nights” for parents several months before the transition – the panelists are parents of students currently in the program and the attendees are parents of future kindergarteners/students. Keep brainstorming!

  5. ljgreen says:

    I read Ready For Success. It’s really interesting to see how some states are supporting educators through the transition process. As Rebecca Grube mentioned in her post, there are things that can hinder a teacher’s ability to engage in the transition process, but there are ways to provide educators with the support they need. I hope that as awareness of the importance of early childhood education and the transition to K grows, so will the supports provided to teachers and families. And of course, there are always personal ways for educators to improve their own transition processes, like learning through this discussion board. I really look forward to hearing about some of the ways people are engaging families here!

  6. Maggie says:

    I just watched these videos and they are great! I’m going to use them in my upcoming workshops!

  7. Nell says:

    Being in New York City, transitions are a particularly complex part of a child and familiy’s educational experience. Children do not automatically go to a particular school for any level of schooling–not even for kindergarten. On the one hand school choice is a gift for families, and on the other, it can be a daunting and troubling experience. Our Head Start has a transitions specialist who works year-round to support families in selecting and registering for kindergarten, but because that process is so involved (school tours, knowledge of different types of schools, school options in areas, testing and registration, etc) our transition efforts have yet to go much beyond supporting families through this process.

    The second piece, Family Engagement in Transitions provides an excellent framework for thinking about building a Transitions Team to build on her work. I plan to bring this text (and ideas from the other resources) back to our next School Readiness Family Engagement Committee to begin thinking about how we can develop a team to support families more completely. There is SUCH a need to more fully support families in navigating the process and preparing them for different relationship dynamics–developing advocacy skills and understanding of a new educational setting.

    The Right Question Institute (www.rightquestion.org) has excellent resources for supporting families in developing their advocacy skills by teaching them HOW to ask questions–not which questions to ask, but how to think about getting the information you need to be informed and make decisions or take action. In “Family Engagements in Transitions” one of the suggestions for what schools can do is “help families learn how to advocate for their children” and I believe RQI provides resources to do just that!

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