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Alignment and Coherence as System-Level Strategies: Bridging Policy and Practice

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Abstract

A system-level perspective on the transition to Kindergarten requires consideration of the differences that exist between the systems of birth-to-five early care and education (ECE) and K-12 education. Challenges in bridging these systems are rooted in paradigmatic and structural differences that make ongoing, meaningful collaboration and alignment between ECE and K-12 difficult and complex to address. With practitioners and policymakers alike experiencing the challenges, the impetus to address them is heightened by the prominent national focus on school readiness and closing achievement gaps by third grade. This chapter explores theoretical rationales for creating more coherence and alignment across the birth through elementary school age range (P-3), providing a picture of how children’s learning opportunities would be positively influenced by system-level alignment work. Schools and districts that have engaged in system-level alignment efforts show promising improvement in child-level outcomes. The chapter provides examples of alignment strategies at the level of implementation and proffers suggestions for how research, policy, and practice can contribute to greater coherence between the ECE and K-12 systems.

Keywords

  • Alignment
  • Coherence
  • Continuity
  • Cross-sector
  • Early care and education
  • Elementary school
  • P-3
  • PreK-3rd
  • Primary grades
  • Systems

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Correspondence to Kristie A. Kauerz .

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Kauerz, K.A. (2018). Alignment and Coherence as System-Level Strategies: Bridging Policy and Practice. In: Mashburn, A., LoCasale-Crouch, J., Pears, K. (eds) Kindergarten Transition and Readiness . Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90200-5_16

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