Kindergarten Transition Practices

About the Project

Considerable efforts are underway across the United States to expand access to early childhood education for young children. Corresponding to increased access to early childhood education across the country is a need to improve children’s transition from early education settings into the primary grades. When children start kindergarten, they are transitioning into a context that is distinct from their earlier experiences.

Although many children experience some sort of ‘school-like’ setting prior to kindergarten, such as preschool, estimates suggest that only 58% of children experience a center-based care setting as their primary care arrangement in the year before kindergarten (Rathbun & Zhang, 2016). For the other 42% of children, adjustment to a kindergarten setting may be challenging. Moreover, even children who attend center-based settings prior to kindergarten experience dramatic shifts as they enter kindergarten, in both environmental experiences and expectations.

Kindergarten Transition Practices (KTP) is a five-year study funded through the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences that aims to fundamentally advance our understanding of young children’s transition into kindergarten by testing a comprehensive, multi-pronged intervention designed to make the kindergarten transition seamless and productive for all children. This study, consisting of 665 children, examines the efficacy of a previously un-evaluated intervention, the Kindergarten Transition Practices intervention, based upon an Ecological Model (Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 2000), which emphasizes the connections among community, teachers, families, peers, and children as the primary mechanisms for successful kindergarten transition and adjustment.


of children entering kindergarten do not have previous experience in a ‘school-like’ setting.

Meet the Project Staff

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Laura Justice, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Justice’s research primarily focuses on young children who exhibit developmental vulnerabilities in language and literacy acquisition, and much of her research considers the effects of teacher or parent implemented interventions on children’s learning.

Read more about Laura here.

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Kelly Purtell, PhD


Dr. Purtell’s research centers on understanding how contextual factors shape the health and development of children and adolescents who are living in low-income households.

Read more about Kelly here.

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Hui Jiang, PhD


Dr. Jiang’s research focuses on quantitative methodology, and she is particularly interested in the connecting new statistical techniques with data-driven practice to advance the field of education.

Read more about Hui here.

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Rebecca Dore, PhD

Research Scientist 

Dr. Dore’s primary research interests are focused on children’s engagement with and learning from play, storybooks, and digital media.

Read more about Rebecca here.

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Amanda Grady

Co-Project Coordinator

Amanda currently co-manages the Kindergarten Transition Practices Project, which explores how to support children as they transition from preschool to kindergarten.

Read more about Amanda here.

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Timea Pap

Co-Project Coordinator 

Read more about Timea here.

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Julie Planke

Graduate Research Assistant

Julie is currently working on completing her Ph.D. in educational psychology. Her primary research interests are focused on the critical role of the teacher-child relationship in young children’s academic and socioemotional outcomes.

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.