School Psychology Review

Patterns of Family-School Contact in Preschool and Kindergarten

Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, Robert C. Pianta

pp. 426-438

Special Issue - Beginning School Ready to Learn: Parental Involvement and Effective Educational Programs

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Abstract: Rates and characteristics of contact between families and schools, in preschool and kindergarten, were examined both cross-sectionally (N = 290) and longitudinally(N= 71). Family-school contact was compared among three programs (two preschools and one kindergarten), and in a group of children shifting from preschool to kindergarten. Teachers recorded family-school contacts using a daily diary method. The cross-sectional analysis revealed differences among programs: teacher-family contact occurred more frequently in preschool than kindergarten. Head Start families received more home visits compared to the two other programs, and kindergarten families received more notes and exchanged more negative news than those in the preschool programs. No teacher or child characteristics other than teachers’ experience teaching preschool were correlated with the rate of teacher-family contact.Longitudinal analyses showed a decrease in teacher-family contact and a shift away from home-initiated contact and toward school-initiated contact as children made the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Characteristics of family-school contact are discussed in light of program priorities,the transition from preschool to kindergarten, and recommendations for school psychologists.