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Children should not feel pressured regarding academic achievements according to a recent study. Researchers at The Ohio State University have found that the initial months of kindergarten can significantly impact academic success.

The study, part of the “Early Learning Ohio” initiative, examined 626 students in 64 classrooms across 15 schools. Researchers stress the importance of this crucial period for every child, regardless of their starting point.

Challenges during transition in preschool negatively impact growth

According to Jing Sun, the lead author of the study, challenges during the transition negatively impact children’s growth, irrespective of their initial readiness skills. Sun said that even well-prepared students face repercussions when encountering hurdles in the transition process.

The recent Ohio State study highlights the significance of a smooth transition to kindergarten, as up to 70% of children face challenges during this period. The study, conducted over 10-14 weeks into the school year, assessed areas such as academics, social skills, and organization. Children who faced fewer initial difficulties demonstrated more substantial improvements in reading, math, and social-behavioral skills by the end of the year, irrespective of their initial readiness and other influencing factors.

The research underscores the significance of the kindergarten transition, emphasizing two main points. Firstly, children experiencing transition challenges may encounter obstacles in establishing vital connections with peers and teachers, essential for their learning and social growth. Secondly, there is a call for improved coordination and communication between pre-K and kindergarten education, as preschoolers invest more time in free play and less in language and literacy instruction than kindergartners, posing difficulties for some children.

Enhanced cooperation between educators necessary

Sun promotes enhanced cooperation between educators in preschool and kindergarten settings. Additionally, she recommends the implementation of strategies within schools to assist children facing challenges in adapting to kindergarten. These measures stand to provide advantages not only for the affected children individually but also for the overall atmosphere of the classroom.

Ensuring alignment between preschool and kindergarten instruction is crucial, according to Sun. Sun emphasizes that interventions addressing transition difficulties benefit not only the affected children but also reduce disruptions in classroom learning, benefiting all students.