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Jan 29, 2019 |
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Celebrations have occurred. New Year’s resolutions have been made. New planners and calendars have been purchased. It may take a little more practice to write the date as 2019, but you are almost there. Congratulations! You have successfully crossed over to 2019!

The start of a new year is a transition. Transitions are changes in people’s lives. Some transitions are small while others are major. Big transitions, such as starting a new job or moving to a new home, require planning and preparation.

A major transition for children and families is the move from early childhood settings to elementary school. Research indicates that families’ and children’s kindergarten transition experiences shape their views of school. These experiences can have short-term and long-term impacts on children’s emotional, social, and academic development.

Early childhood and elementary school staff can prepare families and their children for transition to kindergarten--and January is a good time to focus on this process. The goal is for children and families to have a positive, smooth experience. Below are some suggestions  that support kindergarten transition:

  • Teamwork. Create a team that consists of parents and/or caregivers, early childhood and kindergarten staff, and other educational staff who support children and their families. Create a kindergarten transition plan together that best meets children’s and families’ needs.
  • Listen to families. Find out what they know about school choice and registration processes in your community. Provide support to help families navigate the choices and to complete enrollment forms if it is needed..
  • Encourage families to tour elementary schools. The differences between early childhood settings and elementary schools is unexpected for many families, especially if the child going to kindergarten is their oldest. Encourage parents and caregivers to schedule tours at elementary schools during the school day so that they can see meet school staff, see the building, and observe school routines first-hand.
  • Host a kindergarten transition family event. Share information with families about kindergarten readiness benchmarks in your community. Set up stations so families can practice at-home learning strategies. Focus on basic skills that families can do at home like zipping, name writing, and book handling.

The transition to kindergarten is a major change for young children and their families. Educators can help them plan and prepare to make the change a positive experience. How does your school or program support the transition to kindergarten? Share your ideas in the space below. Each person who comments will receive a free PDF copy of NCFL’s Kindergarten Transition Reading List for families.


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

U.S. Department of Education

Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania. 

The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.

Foundation Website