Smooth transitions into kindergarten can foster a positive relationship between families and schools and underpin the success of children in school settings. Many parents are unsure of the logistics and expectations of the child and family once their child is enrolled in kindergarten or of the best activities to prepare their child for school. The Palmetto Pre-K Transitions Workgroup, comprised of many state early childhood system leaders, state agency personnel, educators, administrators, community and family advocates, and other stakeholders, developed and now launched the South Carolina Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition Plan: Family Engagement to help professionals and parents in facilitating a smooth transition to school.
The Plan was developed by evaluating existing transition policies at the state and federal levels, then offering a set of tactics and best practices that align with and complement goals and strategies presented in For Our Future: South Carolina’s Birth through Five Plan. Tactics address one or more of the following: 1) widespread public information campaigns, 2) outreach, 3) aligned and consistent programs and activities for families, 4) aligned and consistent professional development and data reporting, and 5) resource development to support transitions work and systems. SC PreK to Kindergarten Transition Plan: Family Engagement demonstrates the state's collective capacity and commitment to ensure that every child and family has the resources needed to learn, flourish and thrive.
Education Commission of the States, the group's technical assistance provider, aided in the synthesis of information to develop a framework for the plan. The Transitions Workgroup inventoried current resources for families, reviewed literature and prior data collection efforts of researchers and education experts. It also conducted a survey to hear the voices of parents, educators, administrators, program leaders and service providers. Those voices are at the center of the Plan.
South Carolina has many exciting things happening for “transition season.” Countdown To Kindergarten celebrations are in the works across the state this summer; a Countdown to Kindergarten Summit professional development will be offered on May 11 (from 10 a.m. - noon - register HERE); a summer social media campaign, in collaboration with SC Educational Television, will share transition tips; new print resources are being shared with families entering kindergarten, and much more! Also, the Workgroup is planning a follow-up survey for parents for this May and June, so family voices will continue to shape the group's future efforts and strengthen existing ones.