Hawaii Offering Young Learners Transitionary Program Ahead of Kindergarten

For two summers, Hawaii will be offering a summer start kindergarten transition program. Using $3.5 million in federal recovery funds, the state will provide a free, three-week, in-person classroom experience for incoming kindergarteners with little or no preschool experience. The program will focus on student behaviors and school routines to increase students’ confidence and help them start the school year strong.

We are spotlighting this because of the critical importance of kindergarten and early childhood development. A new effort aimed at preparing students for this critical transition is a worthwhile use of federal recovery funds and a model for other states to watch.

Reviewer Analysis

The Rural Alliance

We would agree with the information within the spotlight.

Leslie Villegas

This is a great use of funds and it would be great to know the type of outreach that is being conducted to linguistically diverse families to ensure they are aware of the program.

Jocelyn Pickford

Given the pandemic’s impact on young learners, this is a smart investment to set kindergarteners up for success before day one of school.


Seems to be a wise and targeted investment in helping to ease the transition for the youngest learners who have been affected by the pandemic in ways that may not be measurable yet.

New Leaders

Investing funds in early childhood education is promising! To foster student success during this transitional program, Hawaii should also consider how they’ll help schools build purposeful and trusting relationships with participating families. Another consideration is the support and training school leaders and teachers will need to lead this program effectively.

The Bush Center

This is a smart idea to create Kindergarten readiness bootcamp. I encourage the state to measure the efficacy of this effort, as it is an idea that could be easily shared and replicated.

About the Authors

Chad Aldeman is a nationally recognized expert on education policy, including school finance; teacher preparation, evaluation, and compensation; and state standards, assessment, and accountability. Keep up with Chad on the EduProgess: Unpacked blog.

Jocelyn Pickford is an education policy and communications specialist focusing on understanding and promoting practitioner-informed public policy across the private, public and non-profit sectors as a Senior Affiliate with HCM Strategists. Follow Jocelyn on the Curiculum A-B-C blog.

Dale Chu’s career includes two decades of work in P-12, serving as teacher, lead teacher, assistant principal, principal, and consultant in both rural and urban districts. Dale writes on assessment and education policy topics for the Testing 1-2-3 blog on AssessmentHQ.

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