School Readiness and the Transition to Kindergarten in the Era of Accountability / Edition 1

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The follow-up to Pianta & Cox's groundbreaking The Transition to Kindergarten, this book updates readers on what's happened in early childhood education in the past seven years; clarifies influential changes in demographics, policies, and practices; and describes promising early education programs and policies.

More than 30 highly respected experts give readers the latest information on the most important topics surrounding early childhood education and kindergarten transition. Armed with this knowledge, administrators, program directors, and researchers will

  • make the most of learning opportunities in early childhood classrooms
  • build stronger connections between early childhood and elementary education programs
  • work to close racial and ethnic gaps in school readiness
  • understand health, emotion regulation, neurological development, and other
  • factors that affect school readiness and academic success
  • address the challenges faced by English language learners

A necessary resource for anyone with a role in shaping early education, this book will help readers develop programs that answer the demands of our high-pressure era of accountability—and start the youngest students on the road to school success.

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Editorial Reviews

Naomi Karp

"I cannot tell you how much early childhood education researchers, policy makers, and educators need a resource like this. Having all this information available in one place is incredibly helpful . . . Each chapter is a clarion call to the nation and should make every concerned citizen think long and hard about how we support our nation's youngest, most vulnerable citizens."
Director, National Center for Children in Poverty, and Clinical Professor of Public Health, Mailman School of Public Hea - Jane Knitzer
"A thoughtful, grounded-in-reality collection of articles that sets forth the next generation of research, practice and policy challenges to make early learning all it can be."
Director, Center for Family Policy & Research, University of Missouri - Kathy Thornburg
"A must read . . . provides the best summary of relevant research on the topic of school readiness to date!"
Professor and Co-Chair, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri - Jean Ispa
"A wonderful, serious book bringing together seminal and recent research . . . Each [chapter] speaks to practitioners and researchers, and each can move us forward."
Peabody College and Vanderbilt University - David Dickinson
"Provides authoritative and comprehensive reviews of the most current theory and research."
Clinical Associate Professor, Erikson Institute, Chicago, Illinois - Patricia D. Horsch
"I am very impressed with the topics covered and the relevancy of the material to everyday situations. [I] will use it in our work with schools and principals [to] focus on school readiness and transitions."
International Journal of Social Welfare
"A sophisticated primer on early childhood education."
The School Administrator
bad review...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557668905
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 364
  • Sales rank: 995,354
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development and Education, Teachers College and College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, Box 39, 254 Thorndike, New York, New York 10027. Dr. Brooks-Gunn directs the National Center for Children and Families ( She is interested in factors that contribute to both positive and negative outcomes across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, with a particular focus on key social and biological transitions over the life course.

Richard M. Clifford, Ph.D., has training in educational administration with specializations in political science and research. He has taught and has served as a principal in public schools. For more than 25 years, he has studied public policies and advised government officials and practitioners on policies affecting children and families. His work focuses on two major areas: public financing of programs for young children and the provision of appropriate learning environments for preschool and early school-age children. Dr. Clifford is co-author of a widely used series of instruments for evaluating learning environments for children, including the Family Day Care Rating Scale (FDCRS; Teachers College Press, 1989), co-authored with Thelma Harms, and the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS; Teachers College Press, 1990) and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale0-Revised Edition (ECERS-R; Teachers College Press, 1998), both co-authored with Thelma Harms and Debby Cryer. In 1993-1994, Dr. Clifford helped establish and served as the first director of the Division of Child Development in the North Carolina Department of Human Resources and helped with the design and implementation of the state's Smart Start early childhood initiative. He is a past president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Martha J. Cox, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Developmental Science and Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Cox is known for her studies of families and young children and for her methodological contributions to the observational analysis of family interactions. Since the 1980s, she has studied the early years of family development and the processes of reorganization of families over the transition to parenthood and the transition to school with a special emphasis on the role of family relationships, including parent-child and marital relationships in children's successful adaptation to new challenges in the early years.

She is 1 of 10 principal investigators in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, a study of children from birth through the elementary school years. She is Principal Investigator of the National Science Foundation-funded North Carolina Child Development Research Collaborative (CDRC). A centerpiece of the CDRC activities is a longitudinal, collaborative, multidisciplinary research study focusing on multiple levels of factors associated with successful development of a diverse group of young children. Dr. Cox is also the Co-principal Investigator of the program project Rural Children Living in Poverty, funded primarily by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development but also by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The purpose of this program project is to understand the early school readiness of an understudied but important group of children: impoverished children living in low-resource, rural areas of the country.

Jason T. Downer, Ph.D., is a senior research scientist at the University of Virginia's Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Charlottesville. He is a clinical–community psychologist whose work focuses on the identification and understanding of contextual and relational contributors to young at-risk children's early achievement and soci

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from Chapter 1 of School Readiness and the Transition to Kindergarten in the Era of Accountability, edited by Robert C. Pianta, Ph.D., Martha J. Cox, Ph.D., and Kyle L. Snow, Ph.D.
©2007. Brookes Publishing. All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

This volume is an extension of a previously published book, The Transition to Kindergarten, which I co-edited with Martha Cox (Pianta & Cox, 1999) and which was intended at the time to identify and frame issues related to the transition to school. In that volume, we assembled chapters pertaining to conceptual models of transition, evidence of the importance of focusing on transition, and discussions of an assortment of policies and practices that pertained to the transition period. In the final chapter, we speculated about four trends that would focus work in the decade that followed. These trends are a good starting point for this brief introduction to the present volume, and are presented next.

  1. There is an emerging conceptual base that integrates developmental psychology and education. This conceptual base, solidly grounded in empirical work, has fueled increasing recognition by educators that 1) the development of young children relies greatly on contexts and 2) the early grades of school are a different, and somewhat critical, period for later school success. Thus, a new conceptual model for understanding the role of the school as a context for development is emerging and will likely influence how educators think about and prepare for the transition to school. . . .

  2. The diversity of America’s families and school population is increasing rapidly and is likely to be the most pronounced among the younger age groups of children. Challenges of culture, language, family background, and processes and differences in the ways families view schools, all of which are formidable, will be exacerbated by these demographic shifts. These shifts raise issues of how schools will face the challenges of educating a diverse population, how communities work to support families and schools working collaboratively, and how the teacher work force will need to respond to student and family diversity.

  3. Public school programs for young children (ages 3 and 4) will continue to increase. Universal prekindergarten programs for 4-year-olds will be the norm, programs for 3-year-olds will be common, and the age for entering school will be 1–2 years earlier than it is now for nearly all American children. . . . Schools will need to be more family–friendly. . . . Transformations of readiness definitions and assessment will also occur as programs are implemented for younger children.

  4. A movement for accountability has emerged in American education in response to pressures, political and substantive, from all sides. From one perspective, such a movement holds potential for enhancing the quality of education offered to American children and ensuring their performance at higher levels. Clear communication of expectations, for example, can actually enhance transition processes when these expectations form the basis for constructive communication about a child between home and school and between programs. . . . However, dangers also lurk in the accountability movement. For the most part, this movement has ushered in a rash of new testing and assessment for children of all ages. . . . [that are] not consistent with the emerging conceptual model that underlies most educational practice for young children. Thus, the accountability movement is likely to produce serious tensions for educators interested in this period of transition. (Pianta & Cox, 1999, pp. 363–364).

Our speculations involved the focusing of developmental and education science on the effects of various contextual res

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Table of Contents

About the Editors
About the Contributors
Foreword: Ruby Takanishi and Fasaha Traylor

I. Early Education Opportunities in the United States

  1. Early Education in Transition
    Robert C. Pianta

  2. Reaching for the Whole: Integration and Alignment in Early Education Policy
    Sharon Lynn Kagan and Kristie Kauerz

  3. Accountability in Early Childhood: No Easy Answers
    Samuel J. Meisels

  4. Learning Opportunities in Preschool and Early Elementary Classrooms
    Bridget K. Hamre and Robert C. Pianta

  5. FirstSchool: A New Vision for Education
    Sharon Ritchie, Kelly Maxwell, and Richard M. Clifford

II. Domains of Developmental Functioning in the P-3 Years

  1. Health and Nutrition as a Foundation for Success in School
    John M. Pascoe, Ulfat Shaikh, Shalini G. Forbis, and Ruth A. Etzel

  2. The Roles of Emotion Reglation and Emotion Knowledge for Children's Academic Readiness: Are the Links Causal?
    C. Cybele Raver, Pamela W. Garner, and Radiah Smith-Donald

  3. A Developmental Neuroscience Approach to the Study of School Readiness
    Clancy Blair, Hilary Knipe, Eric Cummings, David P. Baker, David Gamson, Paul Eslinger, and Steven L. Thorne

  4. English-Language Learners as They Enter School
    Linda M. Espinosa

  5. Integrative Views of the Domains of Child Function: Unifying School Readiness
    Kyle L. Snow

III. Families and Communities

  1. Demographic Trends and the Transition Years
  2. Donald J. Hernandez, Nancy A. Denton, and Suzanne E. Macartney

  3. Racial and Ethnic Gaps in School Readiness
    Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Cecilia Elena Rouse, and Sara McLanahan

  4. Co-Constructing the Transition to School: Reframing the Novice Versus Expert Roles of Children, Parents, and Teachers from a Cultural Perspective
  5. Fabienne Doucet and Jonathan Tudge

  6. Father Involvement During Early Childhood
    Jason Downer

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