Quality Improvement Project
Niagara University’s successful early childhood Quality Improvement Project (QIP) has received funding for Phase III, “Transition to Kindergarten,” from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation to implement a program that will focus on strengthening both academic and social-emotional transitions for children entering kindergarten from various early childhood preschool and home-based settings throughout Niagara County. With this new funding, the Niagara QIP has an opportunity to make an even greater impact in the larger early childhood community; reaching more than 6,000 children entering kindergarten in Niagara County’s 10 school districts, their families, and early educators over the next three years.
Since its inception in 2010, the QIP Phases I and II has elevated the quality of care and early education for 1,529 young children and those who care for them in 30 Niagara County center-based child care centers. The “transition to kindergarten” is one of the most significant events in a young child’s life. It sets the tone for his or her entire educational experience and lays the foundation for future success in school. In the lives of children and families transition to kindergarten is a major event and one of the biggest of all transition experiences. Easing that transition can help assure better attendance and higher school achievement and increase parents’ involvement in their children’s education. Research shows, that when children who are academically, socially, and emotionally prepared to enter kindergarten are more likely to do better in school and in life.
A smooth transition to kindergarten is a shared responsibility among many individuals and institutions, and the Niagara Quality Improvement Project’s “Transition to Kindergarten” Initiative, endeavors to build connections that prepare parents, children, and schools for a more successful transition to kindergarten. It is our goal that all children in Niagara County will enter kindergarten feeling excited, ready to learn, and supported by their schools, families and community!
Some of the key features of the project include:
- Kindergarten Transition and Alignment Summit will be held annually each spring, starting this year, to bring together key stakeholders in early childhood, including teachers and administrators from all early childhood education settings as well as families and community members in Niagara County.
- Joint Professional Development and In-service Training for child care, preschool, pre-k and kindergarten in the highly lauded evidenced-based Pyramid Model recently adopted by New York State. The Pyramid Model training combined with other professional development that support academic and social-emotional transitions, creating a cohesive continuum of evidenced-based practices to bridge and mitigate the behavioral challenges that can arise during this time.
- Transition Planning will strengthen bonds between child care, preschools and elementary schools, including addressing consistency in expectations and aligning curriculum across programs to create a strong continuity of care and continuum of early learning across setting and systems.
- Family Engagement opportunities will provide parents/families with transition resources and training on ways they can support their child’s development as they prepare for their child’s transition into kindergarten to ensure their success in school and later in life.
- Kindercamp – The College of Education’s Institute of Applied Learning will host preschool age children and their families at Kindercamp each summer. Kindercamp will include developmentally appropriate learning experiences and activities that build or strengthen skills necessary for kindergarten.
- Online Professional Learning Community (PLC) will include information for parents and guardians, including preparing their child for kindergarten at home, school district kindergarten registration information and resources for childcare and pre-K, and Kindergarten teachers to develop creative transition activities and strategies.