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FINE Newsletter, Volume VII, Issue 1
Issue Topic: Engaging Families, Schools, and Communities in the Transition to School

Commentary

The transition to school is a rite of passage in the lives of children and their families. For children, it means meeting new teachers and friends, adapting to a different and often larger hustling and bustling environment, and adjusting to new rules and expectations. For families, the transition to school can bring about a variety of emotions.

At Harvard Family Research Project we define transition as a process—not just a one-time event—that begins during children’s preschool years and continues into and through 3rd grade. Keep in mind that transition is also a time when children begin to take part in an increasing number of learning settings, both in and out of school. In this commentary (PDF), we highlight four important things that research tells us about the transition to school, including that:

  • Transition is a matter of equity
  • A smooth transition to school makes a difference for children’s outcomes
  • Families play an important role in the transition to school
  • Relationships among families, early childhood programs, schools, and communities are the foundation of effective transition practice

A number of research articles, many using data from the U.S. Department of Education's Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K), have informed our thinking about the transition to school. We have provided the references in this commentary (PDF) in alphabetical order as a helpful resource.


This resource is part of the March FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family engagement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the archives of past issues, please visit www.hfrp.org/FINENewsletter. To subscribe to the FINE Newsletter, please visit our subscription center.

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