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Alignment and misalignment of classroom experiences from Pre-K to kindergarten


Areas of misalignment between children's experiences in preschool and kindergarten are increasingly viewed as contributing to the fade-out of preschool effects. The current study examined alignment and misalignment of classroom experiences across the transition from public pre-k into kindergarten. As part of a longitudinal cohort study, we examined structural features, process features, and teacher beliefs and practices in 295 public kindergarten classrooms and 117 public pre-K classrooms that feed into them. Analyses revealed a number of differences indicative of potential misalignment, including fewer ethnically and linguistically diverse teachers, more time in teacher-structured activities, and less effective teacher-child interactions in kindergarten. Potential alignment was indicated in some areas, such as more time in kindergarten spent on academics; progression toward more advanced literacy and math content from pre-k to kindergarten; and teachers across both grades reported similarly child-centered ideas about children. Exploratory results by pre-K auspice comparing school-based and center-based pre-K raised further questions about what the meaningful components of alignment are. The field lacks a robust empirical base for defining "good" alignment, thus these descriptive results are discussed in terms of implications for future, predictive research. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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