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Children’s Success In Kindergarten Can Be Bolstered With Strong Home-To-School Ties, New Book Says

Nov. 23, 1999 -- Children’s successful transition into kindergarten requires more than their merely adjusting to school. The move works best when strong relationships linking the children, families, school and community are established — preferably before kindergarten.

That’s a central message in the newly published "The Transition to Kindergarten," which includes recent studies by researchers with the National Center for Early Development & Learning.

Citing their long-term research, editors Robert C. Pianta and Martha J. Cox say that successful transition needs to be seen in a broader picture than just how well a child performs. They recommend viewing successful transition as a long-term process that unites child, family and the school.

"Goal one of the National Education Goals Panel states that ‘by the year 2000, all children will start school ready to learn.’ Our work shows that reaching this goal depends, in part, on schools ensuring smooth transitions between home and school and continuity between child care and school experience," said Pianta, a professor at the University of Virginia who is one of the co-directors of a long-term national study examining the social, psychological and academic needs of young children.

Published by Brookes Publishing Co. of Baltimore, the book offers a reexamination of beliefs, policies and practices regarding kindergarten. It also examines school change from three perspectives: the ecology of transitions into and through kindergarten, the significance of transition in the early grades, and outcomes for children from diverse families and cultures.

The book grew out of a national conference on kindergarten transitions that brought together child development experts, policy makers, parents, and teachers. It addresses such topics as assessing children’s readiness for school, helping at-risk children, and the role of kindergarten in promoting educational equity.

The editors describe several trends that affect transition to school. They include the increasing diversity of American children, the proliferation of public school pre-kindergarten programs, and the movement toward accountability.

"The book offers useful information on how to improve the early school transition. Because these early-school experiences can affect a child’s later success, we consider this an important time to focus on integrating the child, family and school in a common effort," said Cox, a research professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The National Center for Early Development & Learning is a partnership of UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Virginia, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

For more information, contact Robert Pianta at (804) 243-5483 or Martha Cox can be reached at (919) 966-3509 or For a review copy of the book, call Brookes Publishing Co. at (410) 337-9580.

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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