To Help Low-Income Children Succeed, Focus on the Transition to Kindergarten

Article/Op-Ed in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
July 19, 2017

Aaron Loewenberg wrote for the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity about his report, Connecting the Steps: State Strategies to Ease the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten.

Back when I was teaching kindergarten the first day of school was an exciting and anxious time for both students and teachers. As students entered the classroom for the first time, some jubilantly and others a bit more reluctantly, I knew the first few weeks would be focused on gaining a better understanding of each child’s unique strengths and needs.
Unlike teachers of most other grades, kindergarten teachers typically don’t have the luxury of knowing where their students spent the previous school year. As I looked out at the twenty new faces that would define my professional life for the next nine months, I knew some had probably spent the last academic year enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs, some were likely enrolled in a Head Start program, and still others had no previous formal school experience because they spent their days in the care of family, friends, and, neighbors.