CRANE RESEARCH FORUM RECAP – Big Little Leap: Challenges and Possibilities in the Kindergarten Transition

September 2023

The transition to kindergarten can present significant challenges to young children, given that many are transitioning for the first time into a formal school environment with specific rules and routines. In this presentation, Dr. Laura Justice and Dr. Kelly Purtell provide a theoretical framework for understanding the kindergarten transition, detail distinctive differences in preschool and kindergarten settings, and define the common challenges that children face in their transition. Additionally, they present findings from the Kindergarten Transition Practices (KTP) study, a federally funded randomized controlled trial in which a kindergarten-transition program for facilitating kindergarten transition practices was experimentally tested. Hear insights on the KTP study, including what was learned, what challenges were faced, and where to go from here.


  • Dr. Laura Justice, Crane Center executive director and principal investigator on the KTP study
  • Dr. Kelly Purtell, Crane Center faculty associate and co-investigator on the KTP study


DID YOU KNOW… that the Crane and Schoenbaum Centers have an entire body of work on the transition to kindergarten? From research to practitioner notes to tips for parents, the collective body of work aims to deepen our understanding and better support all children during this important transition.

Check out the full body of work here.