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LA County Educators Want To Build A Better Bridge Between Pre-K And Kindergarten 

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A child in Young Horizons's toddler class enjoys breakfast time. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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In June 2019, the Los Angeles County Office of Education gathered parents, teachers and administrators to talk about how to help kids transition from early learning programs to kindergarten.

Now, a little more than a year and many meetings later, there’s a 50-page plan to make it happen.

“We need to ensure that there is a very personalized, warm hand off from one system to the next and consistency throughout the county,” said L.A. County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo at a virtual event Friday. “We can’t wait until high school or middle school to get them on the right path.”

The group knew that high-quality early childhood education benefits kids academically, mentally and physically, but researchers have also found those early wins can fade over time.There are more than 2,000 different public schools in L.A. County’s public education system.

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"One reason for the 'fade-out effect' is likely to be the lack of continuity and support as children transition from preschool to elementary school," reads the Los Angeles County Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition Systems Alignment Framework.

Here are some of the plan’s highlights.

  • More than half of L.A. County teachers and administrators surveyed say preschool and elementary school programs often do not align. For example, just 35% said preschool and kindergarten teachers collaborate to help students transition.
  • Parents say sharing information, building relationships with their teachers and individualized support for their child was important to successfully transition to kindergarten.
  • The framework suggests several policy changes, including reducing class sizes and more classroom support, increasing the number of preschool teachers with bachelor’s degrees, creating a data system to share academic information between early learning and elementary school programs, and making it easier for parents to volunteer in the classroom.
  • Preschool field trips to kindergarten classrooms, providing information to parents before the start of the new school year and teacher visits to students' homes are all ways schools can better engage with parents, and in doing so, help kids succeed.

Read the full report:

UPDATE, 4:35 P.M.: This article was updated to include comments from L.A. County schools superintendent Debra Duardo.

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