Areas of misalignment between children's experiences in preschool and kindergarten are increasingly viewed as contributing to the fade-out of preschool effects. The current study examined alignment and misalignment of classroom experiences across the transition from public pre-k into kindergarten. As part of a longitudinal cohort study, we examined structural features, process features, and teacher beliefs and practices in 295 public kindergarten classrooms and 117 public pre-K classrooms that feed into them. Analyses revealed a number of differences indicative of potential misalignment, including fewer ethnically and linguistically diverse teachers, more time in teacher-structured activities, and less effective teacher-child interactions in kindergarten. Potential alignment was indicated in some areas, such as more time in kindergarten spent on academics; progression toward more advanced literacy and math content from pre-k to kindergarten; and teachers across both grades reported similarly child-centered ideas about children. Exploratory results by pre-K auspice comparing school-based and center-based pre-K raised further questions about what the meaningful components of alignment are. The field lacks a robust empirical base for defining "good" alignment, thus these descriptive results are discussed in terms of implications for future, predictive research. (author abstract)
Alignment and misalignment of classroom experiences from Pre-K to kindergarten
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