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Coordination between Head Start and elementary schools to enhance children's kindergarten success

This study examines efforts by Head Start programs to coordinate with elementary schools and seeks to better understand how coordination practices may support children's transition to and success in kindergarten. Data were drawn from a nationally representative sample of Head Start children (N = 2,019) followed through kindergarten. Findings suggest that Head Start programs are engaging in a variety of activities to coordinate with elementary schools around the transition to kindergarten. Results of lagged OLS regression analyzes found that coordination efforts were significantly related to children's language and mathematics skills in kindergarten for children attending elementary schools engaging in limited school transition practices to support school entry, suggesting that coordination practices initiated by preschools may play a compensatory role for children. In addition, results suggest that direct meetings between Head Start and kindergarten teachers are predictive of higher language skills in kindergarten. Policy or Practice: Efforts by Head Start programs to coordinate with elementary schools may be particularly important for children's academic skills when their elementary schools are less engaged in transition practices. In addition, meeting in person and having a key person responsible for the kindergarten transition may be key ingredients to coordination that yields better outcomes for children. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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