Program

May 22, 2015

OVERVIEW

The Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program is designed to increase literacy, social, and self-regulation in children before entering kindergarten. The program is intended to be a focused, short-term intervention to increase school readiness prior to kindergarten to promote better subsequent school functioning in children in foster care. An experimental evaluation found that children receiving the intervention had lower levels of oppositional and aggressive behaviors in the classroom.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Children in foster care who are entering kindergarten and their caregivers

The KITS Program features a 16 week group-based school readiness curriculum for children and groups for caregivers. There are two phases: 1) the school readiness phase occurs in the 2 months before kindergarten entry and 2) the transition/maintenance phase occurs in the first 2 months of kindergarten.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Pears, K.C., Kim, H.K., & Fisher, P.A. (2012). Effects of a school readiness intervention for children in foster care on oppositional and aggressive behaviors in kindergarten. Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 2361-2366. 

Evaluated population: A total of 192 children in foster care and their caregivers participated in the study. The children in the study were approximately 5 years old. Children were eligible if they were entering kindergarten in the fall, a monolingual or bilingual English speaker, and not involved in another treatment protocol closely associated with the KITS intervention.

Approach:   All families (N=192) were randomly assigned to either the KITS group (n=102) or to a foster care comparison group (FCC; n=90). The KITS intervention consisted of two components: 1) a 24-session school readiness group focused on promoting early literacy and social-emotional skills in children, and 2) an 8-session caregiver group focused on promoting caregiver involvement in early literacy and school. Children in the FCC group did not receive the intervention but continued to receive any other services for which they were eligible. The children and their caregivers participated in standardized testing, questionnaires, and structured interviews at three periods: prior to the intervention (Time 1), at the end of the summer prior to kindergarten entry but after the school readiness phase of the intervention (Time 2), and at the end of the kindergarten year (Time 4). Teacher interviews and direct observations of children’s behaviors were conducted in the fall (Time 3) and spring of the kindergarten year (Time 4). The child’s oppositional and aggressive behaviors in school were measured via the teacher report using the raw scores from the aggressive and delinquent behavior subscales of the Teacher Report Form. Addtionally, the oppositional subscale of the Conners’ Teacher Ratings Scales-Revised:Short version (CTRS:S) was used.

Results: Multivariate analyses showed that there was a significant effect on children’s oppositional and aggressive behavior at Time 4. Thus, children who participated in the KTS program tended to show lower levels of oppositional and aggressive behaviors at the end of the kindergarten year. Additionally, these indicators were negatively related to the child’s gender, suggesting that girls showed lower levels of these behaviors.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Pears, K.C., Kim, H.K., & Fisher, P.A. (2012). Effects of a school readiness intervention for children in foster care on oppositional and aggressive behaviors in kindergarten. Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 2361-2366.

Contact Information

Katherine C. Pears

Oregon Social Learning Center

10 Shelton McMurphey Blvd.

Eugene, OR 97401-4928

Email: katherinep@oslc.org

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Kindergarten, Males and Females (Co-ed), White/Caucasian, Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Early Childhood Education, Aggression

Program information last updated on 5/22/15