Early Matters: Cultivating Engagement and Attendance In Kindergarten


The transition into kindergarten, whether from a preschool or from home, represents an important milestone in a family’s life. Kindergarten is a pivotal opportunity to engage families in the development of positive attitudes and habits and the joy of learning and to introduce attendance habits that promote long-term success in school for their children.

The alarming increase in kindergarten chronic absence since the pandemic reveals the urgent need to renew and deepen our investments in engaging kindergarteners, families, school staff and community organizations during this crucial transition to school.

Helping our youngest learners and their families to overcome barriers to getting to school and re-establish a routine of daily attendance is essential to developing the social, emotional and academic skills that lay the foundation for early school success. This toolkit is designed to support a collective approach to supporting kindergarten students and families.

Who Can Make A Difference?

Principals are the critical leaders at the site level, creating the environment and the strategies that encourage families to school every day and on time.

Every employee in the building – from the bus driver, office staff and cafeteria workers to the teachers, social workers and health professionals – helps establish a positive, welcoming school climate that motivates and supports consistent on-time attendance.

District administrators, public agency and nonprofit leaders, policy makers, funders and other partners individually and collectively support outreach to community and neighborhood leaders to make attendance a priority during transition and throughout the year. They also facilitate adoption of good transition practices at scale.

When everyone is involved, every day on-time attendance becomes a highly visible, high-priority community value and supports educational success for all.

What is in this Toolkit?

Early Matters is a guide for integrating attendance into key district, school and community practices designed to smooth the transition into and through kindergarten. It includes ideas and resources to help schools, preschools and community agencies reach families with young children to promote kindergarten attendance. It offers strategies for welcoming and actively partnering with families with the goal of making attendance and learning a priority this important school year and ultimately influencing school success.

Click on the titles in the Explore Early Matters box below to get started.

Explore Early Matters: Cultivating Engagement and Attendance In Kindergarten

Production of Early Matters: Cultivating Engagement and Attendance in Kindergarten was made possible by the generous support of the Heising Simons Foundation.