10:23 AM

Ohio State wins $3.3 million grant to study kindergarten transition practices

Crane Center researchers will gauge impact on child, family, and teacher outcomes


The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded a $3.3 million 5-year grant to Ohio State’s Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy to examine the impacts of the Kindergarten-Transition Intervention (KTI), a program focused on 24 specific practices designed to build connections between families and schools. Crane researchers will use a cluster randomized trial to examine KTI’s effects on children over several years, beginning with their academic and social-behavioral development during preschool. Later, they will examine the children’s adjustments to kindergarten and their trajectories through the end of first grade.

“We are eager to learn more about how well key interventions prepare children for schooling and life—and how we can better support early childhood educators, whose work is already so challenging,” noted Laura Justice, Crane Center’s Executive Director and principal investigator on the study. “The study is also timely, given the gap in research literature on kindergarten transition practices even while these programs proliferate.”

The study will focus on children in 100 center-based preschools (and their transitions into public school kindergarten programs), facilitated by a partnership with Dayton Preschool Promise and Cleveland-area programs. Crane researchers will follow more than 1,000 children from preschool sites throughout these sites from preschool to the end of their kindergarten year. The investigators will also conduct a cost study.

“Every child comes to kindergarten with varying levels of academic and social-emotional skills. If we can pinpoint what type of practices can help some of our most at-risk children to arrive at the door better equipped, teachers and parents can make immediate adjustments to help their kids, and policy makers will know what types of programs to invest in,” said  Kelly Purtell, assistant professor of human sciences and one of the co-investigators on the project.

“We want to understand if home visits, visits to the kindergarten facility, monthly communication with parents, one-on-one dialogue, and other strategies seem to make a differential impact on children starting kindergarten fully ready,” said Robyn Lightcap, Executive Director of Preschool Promise, Inc.

“We are eager learn what strategies work to help teachers and families give their children a strong start to their public school education.”