Transition to Kindergarten

Transition to Kindergarten

The transition to kindergarten is a critical window of change for young children. It represents one of the earliest transitions U.S. children experience and for many children, this marks the beginning of formal schooling. Success in kindergarten sets children up for long-term academic achievement and development of social skills.  

This kindergarten transition can often be challenging for children as they adjust to a new setting, with new people, new expectations, and often new academic demands. A recent study from Crane scientists found that at least 70% of children experienced at least one challenge during the transition to school; meeting academic demands and being organized were the most common challenges. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic both pre-K and kindergarten enrollment numbers were down nationwide. Data on kindergarten readiness also show that in many instances, children are not as prepared for formal school as they were pre-pandemic. 

K transition page (250 × 250 px)

Crane Center’s work on this topic

Our faculty and staff scientists have a breadth of expertise on kindergarten transition. Several research projects, white papers, research briefs, and events have focused on this topic.

The Kindergarten Transition: Creating a New Model

(Research Brief)

Crane Center researchers developed the Kindergarten Transition Intervention, a new model expanding upon a framework developed by Dr. Robert Pianta and Dr. Sara Rimm Kaufman that focuses on six key connections.

Is Pre-Kindergarten Too Much Work and Not Enough Play?

(White Paper)

This research examines instructional practices in pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade.

Understanding the Transition to Kindergarten and Factors that Influence it

(Crane Research Forum)

Despite different pre-K experiences, many children struggle as they move from pre-K into kindergarten. Dr. Kelly Purtell shares research on promoting positive transitions.

It’s a struggle: Transitioning children into Kindergarten

(White Paper)

Read the findings from Crane research that examines at five areas of transition difficulties, how common difficulties were, and which children were more likely to experience them.

Kindergarten Transition Practices

(Research Project)

This five-year study tests a comprehensive intervention designed to make the transition to school seamless and productive for all children.

Big Little Leap: The Role of Transition Difficulties in Children’s Skill Development During Kindergarten

(Research Brief)

This research brief examines Ohio children’s difficulties with transitioning to school, which are distinctly different from kindergarten readiness skills.

Schoenbaum Center’s research-based resources

Experts at our Schoenbaum Family Center provide actionable insight and tips for families and educators about the kindergarten transition.

Kindergarten Readiness and Transition Webinar

(Parent Event)

Principal Anneliese Johnson and vice principal Samantha Peterson discuss key topics on getting ready for kindergarten including age eligibility, kindergarten readiness, common screenings, enrollment process, and supporting children at home.

Transitioning to Kindergarten

(Practitioner Notes)

To make the kindergarten transition easier, teachers and parents can work collaboratively to provide children with skills, knowledge, behaviors, and comfort to be successful.

Kindergarten-Bound: Tips for supporting your child during this important transition

(Parent Brief)

Help your child get ready for kindergarten with these quick tips from our experts that explain the process and offer resources to guide you.

Kindergarten Transitions: Examples from the A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning

(Practitioner Brief)

To make the kindergarten transition easier, our partner school, the A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning (ASR), works hard to support kindergarten-bound children and families in myriad ways.