Early Matters: District and Site Level Practices

Reach Out to Families Before Kindergarten

Orienting children to kindergarten begins during the prior school year. Early outreach can incorporate a warm welcome, family-friendly informational materials, introduce the kindergarten setting and establish a caring reciprocal relationship with families. These actions set the stage and can have a strong influence on family and student sense of belonging, increased attendance and improved student outcomes.

Ideas and Resources

Integrate information about attendance into outreach and school registration materials and activities. Consider using the “Get Ready for School” handout found here. Districts can include this flyer along with other standard registration materials and make them available for distribution by school sites.

Implement summer bridge programming or school readiness sessions for students who did not participate in preschool the prior year. Districts can establish these summer transition programs to introduce basic academic and social skill building in a fun interactive setting. Include awareness of the importance of attendance to help parents and children associate consistent attendance with academic success and self-confidence.

Introduce preschoolers to kindergarten. Hold open houses for preschool parents and children during the winter and/or spring to introduce families, encourage early registration and begin to talk about on-time attendance. Invite the home coordinators from Head Start/preschool programs to the open house to support Head Start/preschool families with the transition. These can be held in community locations as well as on school sites.

During the winter and spring before kindergarten, visits by preschoolers to kindergarten classrooms and the school cafeteria help ease concerns children may have about the next year. Organize visits from kindergarten teachers into preschool classrooms to give students an opportunity to meet teachers and learn more about the kindergarten experience.

Share information about teacher assignments as early as possible. Schools should also encourage teachers to send a letter of welcome and/or contact families.

Visit neighborhoods and/or families to provide an advance welcome to kindergarteners, learn about your students and their community, answer questions and provide some advance information for parents and children

Inspiring Examples

Click here to read about educators who have successfully integrated attendance into efforts to welcome and reach out to families.

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.