Right from the Start

Transition strategies for developing a strong preK-3 continuum

There have been many studies over the years documenting the need for smoother transitions from prekindergarten to the elementary level. A new AFT study reinforces that conclusion—and does it in a manner that puts frontline voices at the heart of the dialogue.

"Right from the Start: Transition strategies for developing a strong preK-3 continuum,"was funded through the Pew Charitable Trusts and highlights many field-tested measures to building an effective, collaborative environment between the pre-K and elementary communities. The strategies are based on a presentation made at AFT’s 2011 TEACH Conference by P-3 expert Kristi Kauerz and her work at Harvard Graduate School of Education and the University of Washington. A more detailed framework will be published by Kauerz later this year which will include tools for schools and districts to assess their efforts.

Such an environment is indispensable to the long-term success of students—particularly the most vulnerable young learners, AFT president Randi Weingarten stresses.

“Collaborative, thoughtful and intentional transitions to assist children leaving pre-K and entering kindergarten have been found to be especially beneficial to children from lower socioeconomic circumstances,” Weingarten writes in the introduction to the report, citing measures already adopted in several communities.

These efforts, which are highlighted in profiles and case studies throughout the report, include placing preschool classes under the roofs of elementary schools and linking community-based child care center programs to elementary schools to ease the transition for parents and children.