The Kindergarten Home Visit Project: A Kindergarten Transition Intervention Study
This study examined the effect of the Kindergarten Home Visit Project, a novel universal intervention program designed to enhance the transition to kindergarten for children and families by providing teachers with the training and support they need to conduct a home visit for each of their students at the beginning of the school year. Forty-four kindergarten teachers from 19 schools and 928 children and their families participated in the project. Teachers were blocked within schools and randomly assigned to intervention or control conditions. Intervention teachers successfully completed home visits for 98% of their students. After controlling for child and teacher demographic factors, multilevel modeling with children nested within classrooms and schools revealed that random assignment to receive a home visit had a significant positive impact on classroom work habits by students and teacher-child relationship warmth at the end of kindergarten. Assignment to home visiting was also associated with positive child outcomes for girls, specifically including: higher academic achievement, academic motivation, work habits, social skills, and better conduct. Impact on boys was non-significant. The effect of home visiting on child outcomes was mediated by an intervening effect on academic motivation for girls during the fall. Positive effects of assignment to intervention were also demonstrated for children from non-English speaking homes. These children demonstrated higher academic motivation and better work habits. In addition, both non-English speaking parents and their teachers reported reduced adverse effects of language barriers on home-school collaboration. The intervention was also found to have a positive effect on teacher attitudes and beliefs. Teachers who conducted home visits reported an increased understanding of the diverse needs and cultural differences of families, a greater willingness to reach out to parents, and a more positive connection to students and their families. These findings suggest that home visiting is beneficial to teachers, students and families and should be continued and expanded as a kindergarten transition practice in the schools.
Education, Early Childhood
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