The path between preschool and kindergarten can be rocky for both families and educators, argues a new paper from New America’s Education Policy program. In the wake of research suggesting that young students often struggle to adapt to a more structured classroom, the report examines efforts in four states to help better manage the transition through data collection and parental outreach.
A bounty of evidence has pointed to the benefits of early child care initiatives, including a recent study estimating a nearly 14 percent annual return on investment from high-quality preschool directed at disadvantaged learners. But as more states and cities seek to broaden their public pre-K offerings, researchers have also found that low-income kids need more help in making the leap to the next level, where student-teacher ratios are lower and academic goals more rigorous. Worse still, without communication between preschool directors and school leaders, kindergarten teachers are left to guess at their new students’ readiness for headier coursework.