More Information Needed

Wildenger, K., & McIntyre, L. (2010). Family concerns and involvement during kindergarten transition. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20(3), 387-396.

Transitioning from preschool to kindergarten has been regarded as a “sensitive period” for children (Rimm-Kaufmann and Pianta, 2000).   Recent research findings have concluded that early childhood transition experiences may impact later academic and social outcomes (Eckert et al. 2008). Recently, there has been a growing number of research studies in the area of kindergarten transition experiences and effects, but few studies have addressed the parent or guardian perspective in the area (Wildenger and McIntyre, 2010).

Wildenger and McIntyre’s (2010) study on parent concerns and involvement during the transition period between home and kindergarten or preschool and kindergarten aimed to exam transition experiences from the lens of the parents or guardians. They looked at parent concerns during transition, perceived needs during transition, and parent involvement during kindergarten preparation activities.

Results regarding family concerns showed that most parents and guardians had few concerns about their child transitioning to kindergarten (Wildenger and McIntyre, 2010). Where there were concerns, they mostly had to do with sociobehavioral concerns, such as following directions and getting along well with others.   The issues of least concern to parents were communicating needs, toileting issues, and the ability to get along with the new teacher (Wildenger and McIntyre, 2010).

In the area of the perception of needs, there was a significant area of need identified by parents and guardians concerning what families could be doing at home to help their have a successful transition experience into formalized schooling.   Parents and guardians also listed information on the specifics of the kindergarten program and information about their child’s kindergarten teacher as an area of need (Wildenger and McIntyre, 2010). Although these needs were based on a large number of the participant’s feedback, there was still about one-quarter of the participants that felt they did not have any needs in this area.

The last area that was looked at was the level and type of involvement the parents and guardians had in the areas of formal and informal transition activities that the schools offered. The transition activities offered by the schools ranged in format and in nature. Some examples of the activities included visiting the child’s kindergarten classroom, attending a kindergarten meet the teacher or orientation night, receiving information in the mail about the kindergarten program, receiving a phone call from the kindergarten teacher, and receiving a home visit from the kindergarten teacher (Wildenger and McIntyre, 2010). The researchers found that the most utilized transition activities for the parents were attending a kindergarten open house or orientation and receiving written communication from the kindergarten teacher about the program (Wildenger and McIntyre, 2010). Conversely, parents were least likely to receive a home visit or phone call during the summer transition months.

When looking at the differences in participation in transition activities and socio-economic status, Wildenger and McIntyre (2010), found that total transition involvement was significantly less than for lower socioeconomic groups.

The strengths of this study appear to be the strong focus on parent perspective. It seems that although a significant portion of parent participants reported having needs in the area of information obtainment for transition tips and program details, there were also a significant number of parents that said they did not have any concerns. This indicates to me that in the very least, schools should offer a formalized transition informational event, such as an open house, to be sure that information about program details are communicated. I can also see the value of conducting a home visit during the summer months by the kindergarten teacher. Conducting a home visit would give parents and their child the opportunity to meet and get to know their teacher and also the opportunity to address individual questions or concerns about program details or transition tips. Perhaps for the parents that stated they did not have any concerns about the transition process, a home visit may alert them to some things that they should look out for when they are helping their young one transition into formal schooling. I see this as an educational component about the importance of successful early childhood experiences and some key findings that have proven to be helpful during the transition period. Another argument for making a home visit would be the ability to work around the parents’ schedules and take out transportation and child care as an inhibiting factor.

The issues that I can see arising is that many teachers are not employed in the summer months and even if they are, most teachers do not receive their class rosters for the next school year until just before the school year begins. This has been the case in the school districts that I have worked in. Home visits, just as open houses are, should be a part of the kindergarten teachers back to school contracted hours or it can even be imbedded into a summer transition program that has been created and funded by the school.


Ecker, T. L., McIntyre, L. L., DiGennaro, F. D., Arbolino, L., Begeny, J., & Perry, L.J., (2008). Researching the transition to kindergarten for typically developing children: A literature review of current processes, practices and programs. In D. H. Molina (Ed.), School psychology: 21st century issues and challenges (pp. 235-252. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Rimm-Kaufman S., & Pianta R. (2000). An ecological perspective on the transition to kindergarten: A theoretical framework to guide empirical research. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21(5), 491-511.

Wildenger, K. & McIntyre, L. (2010). Family concerns and involvement during kindergarten transition. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20(3), 387-396.


Using difference-education to make a difference

Stephens, N.M., Hamedani, M.G., & Destin, M. (2014). Closing the Social-Class Achievement Gap: A Difference-Education Intervention Improves First-Generation Students’ Academic Performance and All Students’ College Transition. Psychological Science, 25(4), 943-953.

How can difference-education make a difference in the success outcomes of first-generation university freshmen?  A recently published study, authored by Nicole M. Stephens, MarYam G. Hamedani and Mesmin Destin (2014), sheds light on the matter.

Stephens, Hamedani, and Destin conducted a study to determine if an educational intervention that highlights difference and demonstrates why difference matters would reduce the achievement gap between first-generation students (those whose parents do not have a four-year college education) and continuing-generation students (whom have at least one parent who has obtained a four-year college degree).  Using a convenience sample to recruit first-year students and financial incentives to entice them to participate, the researchers organized two moderated panels of college seniors to share their personal stories of how they have succeeded at that university.  The same group of seniors spoke at each panel and shared the same stories; the only major difference between the panels was that one panel included difference-education in the form of the panelists identifying their social-class backgrounds and then linking their stories to those backgrounds, whereas the other panel did not include such mention of experience-based difference.  The group of freshmen participating in the study (which included first-generation and continuing-generation students) were randomly assigned to observe one panel or the other.

In addition to observing the panel, participating freshmen were asked immediately afterward to complete a brief survey about what they learned and how they would use that learning to advise future incoming students, and they also filmed a brief video testimonial that they were told would be used to educate the following year’s cohort of freshmen (the researchers added this wrinkle to produce the saying-is-believing effect articulated by Yeager and Walton (2011)).  At the end of the year, participants also completed a survey designed to gauge their understanding of difference, how much they utilized available student resources at the college, and the success of their college transition as determined by a range of psychosocial measures such as levels of stress and student engagement.

The results are encouraging.  After eliminating outliers and controlling for other factors such as SAT scores and high school GPA, the researchers found that the achievement gap (measured by year-end college GPA) between first-generation and continuing-generation students who observed the difference-education panel was virtually eliminated!  In contrast, a significant gap emerged between first-generation and continuing-generation students who observed the standard panel that did not contain difference-education.  The researchers also found that, although there was not a significant difference in year-end GPA between the groups of continuing-generation students who participated in the study, the group of first-generation students who observed the difference-education panel had a much higher mean GPA than the group of first-generation students who observed the standard panel.  Similar patterns emerged in relation to utilization of college resources.

This seems like a sound study.  The researchers’ survey design and statistical analysis controlled confounding variables, and results were statistically significant. Moreover, the researchers used multiple methods of obtaining data.

I am intrigued by this research because it relates directly to my area of inquiry.  It also confirms other research articles I’ve read, my own personal observations of students, and conversations I’ve had with colleagues that support the notion that, although interventions such as academic skill development programs and financial literacy education can clearly be beneficial for first-generation students, educators must also be attuned to psychological factors such as self-efficacy and feelings of belonging and hope that can impact student success outcomes.  Students can be exceptionally bright, but if they feel like they don’t belong in college, if they don’t recognize that their struggles and challenges might be related to difference in their backgrounds rather than who they are as individuals, or they don’t seek help, their chances for success are diminished.

This study also has major implications for issues of access and equity in education, which is a major national agenda.  As the authors of the study wrote, the achievement gap between first-generation and continuing-generation students is well documented, and first-generation students are a large percentage of the student population.  Therefore, administrators who are seeking to improve their institutional graduation rates and promote student success should be aware of this study and consider how they might use the findings in their own context.

The researchers identified several areas for future study.  For example, they suggested studies on how similar interventions might affect other areas in which there are educational disparities.  This study has definitely given me ideas for my own research.  I would like to try a similar intervention at ASU.  The key will be finding a way to do it at scale.

Additional Reference

Yeager, D.S., & Walton, G.M. (2011). Social-psychological interventions in education: They’re not magic. Review of Educational Research, 81, 267-301.


“Stars” Transition Program

Berlin, L. J., Dunning, R. D., Dodge, K. A., (2010). Enhancing the transition to kindergarten: A randomized trial to test the efficacy of the “Stars” summer kindergarten orientation program.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 247-254.

My area of interest for research and innovation is in the area of the transition period that children experience from home to kindergarten or from preschool to kindergarten.  Since the start of my studies this summer, I have read many articles in this area that have focused on the importance of successful transitions into kindergarten.  I have learned many practical ideas for implementation that would help support what research deems as the best practices in the area.  In my mind, I have started to apply what I have learned to the context of my own school and community.  I started asking myself, given my school and community demographics, strengths, and needs, what would a successful program look like for the students and families we serve?

I came across a research study conducted that researched a kindergarten transition program that mirrored the type of program that I can see being funded and implemented in my own school and community.  Berlin, Dunning & Dodge (2010), developed a transition program called “Stars” that was designed to help students with primarily their social transition into kindergarten.  The program focused on pre-academic skills such as pre-literacy and pre-numeracy, but mostly the focus was on school routines, the social aspects of kindergarten transition, and parent involvement (Berlin et al., 2010).  The program was held for four weeks in the summer prior to kindergarten.

Berlin et al., (2010) found that participation in the “Stars” program eased children’s’ social transitions as judged by kindergarten teachers.  When the children had the same teacher for kindergarten as they did in the “Stars” program, the significance was even higher (Berlin et al., 2010).  Although  there was not a significant effect in the area of academics, the researchers did remind readers that the focus was not on the academic piece, bur more on the social aspect of kindergarten transition.    The study also found that when compared to peers that did not participate in the “Stars” program, children that did participate in the program had an overall better ability to adapt to kindergarten expectations and routines (Berlin et al., 2010).  In further analysis of the results, the researchers in this study also noticed that the positive effects on the “Stars” program were more pronounced for girls compared to boys.  They attributed this effect to the possibility of greater male vulnerability to social stressors (e.g. Zaslow & Haynes, 1996) and teachers’ differential relationships with preschool age girls and boys and/or unmeasured processes (Berlin et al, 2010).   They also noted that the same gender effect occurred in previous studies, such as the Perry Preschool Project, Abecedarian, and Early Training Project (Anderson, 2008).  Although it is interesting to note that the same findings were not true with two recent and well know studies in early childhood transition.  These studies were the large-scale evaluation of the Early Head Start Program and the NICHD Study of Early Child Care (Berlin et al., 2010).

The methods of study and the findings of this study have helped me to think about my plan for innovation in my local community in the area of kindergarten transition.  The study authors noted in their conclusion that they felt that they could see benefit by having the study repeated but on a larger scale (Berlin et al., 2010).  The researchers felt that perhaps the smaller sample size limited their ability to use certain data gathering materials as well as limited the exploration of a wider range of moderated program effects.  Berlin et al, (2010) also recommended the use of more qualitative measures such as parent, teacher, and student interviews and questionnaires.

I can see the value in using these suggestions in my own research.  I believe that of given district support, I can implement an innovative, research backed program in many of our 59 elementary schools.  Although I am not sure what size samples are deemed acceptable for a larger sample size, I feel that I may have the opportunity to use a larger sample size in the South West area of my district.   Based on this study, I also think that it would be interesting to add a deeper qualitative research approach to capture the dynamics of the transition in regards to parent, teacher, and student feelings about their experiences.


Anderson, M. A. (2008). Multiple inference and gender differences in the effects of early intervention:  A reevaluation of the abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects.  Journal of the American Statistical Association, 103, 1481-1495.

Berlin, L. J., Dunning, R. D., Dodge, K. A., (2010). Enhancing the transition to kindergarten: A randomized trial to test the efficacy of the “Stars” summer kindergarten orientation program.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 247-254.

Zaslow, M.S., & Haynes, C.D. (1986). Sex differences in children’s responses to psychological stress: Toward a cross-context analysis.  In M. Lamb, & B. Rogoff (Eds), Advances in developmental psychology (pp. 2890337). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

The Dynamic Process of Kindergarten Transition

Rimm-Kaufman, S. & Pianta, R. (2000). An ecological perspective on the transition to kindergarten: A theoretical framework to guide empirical research. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21(5), 491-511.

The transition into kindergarten signifies a very import step in the lives of young children and their families.  Although many children in the United States attend various types of preschool programs, the transition into formal schooling is a big step for children that have never had preschool experience as well as for children that have had the opportunity to engage in a preschool program.  Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta (2000), conceptualizes the importance of transition programs or activities in the year prior to kindergarten, and offers an approach to these activities that focuses on an ecological perspective.  This approach included three main areas of focus.  First, a focus on relationships between children and their environment, such as schools, peers, families and neighborhoods (Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta 2000).  Second, measures of school readiness need to take into consideration the effects that these relationships have on the child.  Third, Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta (2000) discuss the importance of examining  on how these relationships changes over time and have an effect on the child and their transition success.

There has always been a research interest in the process of children transitioning from home or preschool into formal schooling, but the popularity of this topic has increased even more in the educational research field in the last 10 years due to the dynamic nature of our current educational system as well as the changing landscape of our family structures.

The expectations for early learners are continuously changing, increasing, and developing as mandates from federal and state policy makers are implemented to try to raise the bar for educators and their students.  Along with demands for higher level of academic performance, kindergarten students also have many social-emotional adjustments to make during this transition year.  Independence from their parents, being alert and attentive for five hours a day in school, and transitioning from mostly parent – child relationships, to forming and maintaining relationships with their peers are all significant social-emotional adjustments (Rimm-Kayfman, Pianta, 2000.

Other factors that promote the popularity of research in this area of education are the increased number of children between the ages of 4-7 in our country. The United States has shown a two-fold increase in the population of preschool age children from 1973-1993.  Changes in family dynamics are also factors that warrant research in this area.  There are many more families now than a decade ago that have single parent households or both parents working when they have small children.  Also, there is growing population of children that are subject to the consequences of welfare reform and are experiencing more stressful home lives (Rimm-Kayfman, Pianta, 2000).

With all of these factors taken into consideration, it is clear to see that educational systems need to create educational reform that includes a comprehensive program that takes into consideration all of these risk factors as preschoolers transition into formal schooling.  The goal of new research would be to help students begin their kindergarten year with as much support as possible given their family dynamics and experiences prior to kindergarten to set them up for success.

The authors noted that with all of these changes, the way this transition process is studied is evolving.  This evolution has everything to do with the increasingly complex family dynamic and other societal factors.

When researchers first began to look at the transition period into kindergarten, they often focused on child characteristics.  In other words, they focused on gender, behavior, ethnicity, etc.  More popular now is the idea that there are far more impacting elements in a child’s life that can have an effect on the success of their transition into kindergarten.  Researchers now are focusing on societal influences, such as programs to help the child transition, such as meet the teacher or hello parties, quality of preschool experiences, and interactions between the parents and the child as well as parents and the teacher (Rimm-Kayfman, Pianta, 2000).  The authors argued that the approach to looking at what determines the success of transitioning into kindergarten is complex and should take on a more ecological approach.     An ecological approach can be best understood as looking at persons, families, cultures, communities, and policies and to identify what the effects are on the child.

All of these factors can help researchers conduct research to better inform policy makers and school districts not only on the importance of preschool to kindergarten transition programs, but also help develop them so that they are created for the specific needs of the community they service.




Making the Transition: High School to College


Venezia, A., & Jaeger, L. (2013, Spring). Transitions from High School to College. Future of

     Children23(1), 117-136.

In continuing my review of scholarly writings this week I found the article Transition from High School to College that provided information that directly relates to my line of inquiry. The title from the article led the way as a direct intro to the subject matter that was being given by the authors. The focus of this piece was to provide research and insight on the current trends of providing interventions to improve access into higher education for high school students in the United States. Venezia and Jaeger (2013) presented their research and information by looking at the state of college readiness among high school students, the effectiveness of programs in place to help them transition to college, and efforts to improve those transitions.

In looking at the formulation of the research presented in this reading, it was very easy to see from the onset that the authors were first focused on using more quantitative data to support their findings. The researchers looked at statistical data from various sources including the National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, College Board “SAT Report”, and several others. I felt the research was conducted from a more analytical approach than anything. Although the text provides some excellent support to the author’s positions, it seemed to be a report more motivated to impact policy makers. The study showed very little humanizing elements, telling me it was a more data driven approach with research methodologies used for this report.

The information presented to readers was turned to help one understand first and foremost, that there is a problem in the U.S. with students being ill prepared for college entrance. The report also lightly approached the idea that social inequity continues to hamper access to college in underserved communities in the U.S. The paper leaves readers contemplating the effectiveness of current measurement tools for college readiness, because it is something that history shows challenging to track. The report also helps readers to understand that college transition challenges for high school students is recognized at the national level. Hence, there is state and federal funding currently being used for success programs like TRIO, Early College, Gear UP, and Upward Bound programs. The article also reflects on common core standards, the push at the national level for college preparedness, and also presents readers with the idea that there is not one particular fix to guiding students in college and career readiness. The end findings of this article can be summed up in one of the author’s final statements.  According to Venezia and Jaeger (2013) “While great variation in approaches and implementation strategies will no doubt continue, the field would benefit from a more comprehensive and consistent method for learning what works across different types of reforms—for example, using similar definitions and metrics—to help clarify what is transportable, effectively, across different contexts and scaling needs” (p.132).

As a reader, the authors of Transition from High School to College did an excellent job of initially capturing my attention by presenting their stance and position on what the readings was going to present. The piece itself was very coherent from start to finish, and all topics were placed in a safe fashion, to help the reader understand both problem, potential solutions, and end findings. The data was structured into this writing nicely to help support the authors points and to help users continue to build on understanding the issues of high school to college transitions in our country. One of the strongest points made in this article came as the development of the argument was laid out. As a reader, I could feel that there was not going to be any healthy final recommendations to solve the issues being presented.

In reflecting on this reading, I think it may contribute to my research and field of inquiry. Was this article worthwhile? I would say yes to an extent. I will keep it in my archive for reference points that I felt were very sound. I will say the strength of the argument was not supported as well as I thought it could have been, because of the lack of connecting the reader with the human side of the challenges being presented. I know not all scholarly writings are intended to appeal to a reader’s emotion, but if the authors could have provided a more human element, this reading would appeal to me even more.

Some of the key items in this article were highlighted in the way the authors framed their argument and presented their story while supporting it with data. As I read through the material, the author helped me to see some of the challenges that are faced in measuring the topic at hand. Another part to this writing that impressed me was the author’s last take on the analysis presented. In addition to directly supporting academic preparation for students, capacity-building efforts need to focus on ensuring that large comprehensive high schools have strong college-going cultures, on providing the necessary professional development for educators to help all students meet college readiness standards (Venezia & Jaeger, 2013), was well stated. Again, not robust findings, but the author helped me understand there is more research needed in this area.

The authors of this paper made good connections with analysis and material being presented. As a doctoral student who is looking at research methods and tools, I defiantly found some of the examples and materials used as potential tools for my future research efforts. I found clarity in the way some of the material was presented, but also questioned some portions to the writing. I learned from this piece that sound data and resources can help the reader better understand the issues you are looking at. But when topics are presented that have little findings to help support current actions being taken, it can call for challenges in trying to transfer your message to the intended audiences.

I selected this article to review because I found some positives and negatives in how it read. My final thoughts were that the use of statistics and data can do an excellent job in helping support an issue you want people to recognize. The authors of this article did an excellent job at using national statistics and measures to help show readers the impact of the issue at hand. In my professional setting working in higher education, I have to work with top level leadership occasionally to present my view or ideas, and to gain support or funding for projects or other needs. The use of data to support my argument seems always to play a vital role in the impact I can have on my audience. The use of solid supporting quantitative data to help support any measure can always help. On the other hand, this study might be able to build on its argument and position by bringing more qualitative research. Story telling focused on the collective impact of the challenges being faced and the results to be had by some of the programs discussed may help this research become even sounder for the future. The result in reflecting on this article; I had some positive takeaways to help me in the review of research practices, but still many questions to ensure I can be a successful academic researcher in time. a successful academic researcher in time.

Preschool to Kindergarten Transition Activities

La Paro, K. M., Kraft-Sayre, M., & Pianta, R. C. (2003). Preschool to kindergarten transition activities: Involvement and satisfaction of families and teachers. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, (17)2, 147-158.

My area of interest for research has changed over the last week as I begin to understand the goals of action research.  Reflecting on the strengths and needs in my school and community has helped me to identify an area where action research would not only be appropriate but also help serve the families of the students we serve in the community where I teach.  The area of interest and focus that I see a tremendous amount of opportunity to help develop and reform based on my week of reflection is in the area of kindergarten school readiness and the effect that transition programs have on social adjustment and academic performance for children entering kindergarten.


In a fairly recent study conducted by Lapar, Kraft-Sayre, & Pianta (2003), researchers looked at the various types of transition activities that are commonly used by teachers and parents to help preschool children transition to kindergarten in the most successful way possible.  The study also looked to identify barriers that could prevent a teacher or a family from participating in transition activities as well as parent and teacher satisfaction in these types of activities.  In other words, did the parents and teachers find the identified transition activities helpful to the kindergarten student?


The study was developed with grant support from the Educational Research and Development Centers program, PR/Award Number R307A60004, under the direction of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education.  The study was developed on the foundation of widely accepted research that demonstrated the importance of transition to formal schooling for young children.  Generally, children who experience success in the early years of school continue to demonstrate success in social competence and academic achievement in their school careers.  However, children who have a difficult time transitioning to formal schooling usually have trouble catching up to their peers.


In this two year study, researchers looked two different types of programs: a centralized city program for four year olds and a county program located in four distinct elementary schools.  The transition activities developed for use by families of the students and their preschool and kindergarten teachers were organized into four categories.  These categories included family-school connections, child-school connections, peer connections, and community connections.


Of the 110 children enrolled initially in the program, there were 86 participants that completed the study from beginning to end.  Of the 86 participants, 70 were African American, 31 Caucasian, 3 were Hispanic and 6 had other ethnic backgrounds.  Factors in the decline of students participating in the project were due primarily to family mobility.  The researchers in the project chose to primarily work with at-risk students.  Students were determined to be at risk based on their eligibility for free and reduced lunch, child’s father or mother’s partner ever living with them in the home and mother’s score on the Center of Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) (La Poro et al., 2003).


There were 10 preschool teachers that participated in the study.  Eight of the preschool teachers were Caucasian and 2 were African American.  All of them were women.  The kindergarten teachers consisted of 36 Caucasian females and one African American woman.


Data collection in this study consisted of involving parents on interviews and teacher questionnaires.  The questionnaires and interview questions were designed to be sensitive to participants’ use of the transition activities offered to them as well as experiences that occurred as the child moved through preschool and into kindergarten.  The interview questions were developed to address the following questions: 1) When offered a range of transition activities and provided support to engage in them, in what transition activities do parents participate and which activities do they find helpful?  2) What barriers do parents report with regard to participating in the activities? 3) In what transition activities do teachers participate in activities and which ones do they find helpful? 4) What barriers do teachers report with regard to participating in the activities? (La Poro et al., 2003).


The results of the study showed that more that 50% of the families reported participating in almost all of the transition activities with a visit to a kindergarten classroom being the most prevalent activity while reading to children about going to school was the least prevalent activity.  Out of all of the families that participated, almost all of them said that they were helpful in the transition process.  A major barrier for participants was an overwhelming majority of families (74%) reported that their work schedule interfered with their participation in the transition activities (La Poro et al., 2003).


All of the preschool teachers found the transition activities to be helpful, but when researchers surveyed the kindergarten teachers, only about half of them participated in transition activities that occurred during the summer months.  Teachers cited lack of pay for their non-participation.  Of the activities they did participate in, most all of them found them to be helpful (La Poro et al., 2003).


The implications of this study suggest to me that there is benefit to supporting families with transition tips and activities to help their child move from preschool to kindergarten.  It seems that there may be more benefit to offer school funded transition programs that would allow children to participate in school readiness activities while their parents are away at work.  There could also be some activities built into that program that would involve parents and children and offer them helpful hints about helping their children get ready for school. This would help take care of the chief problem that parents reported when they reflected on their participation levels in the activities.  It would also give teachers an opportunity to earn income over the summer months.  It also might be interesting to survey the actual children in the study about their feelings about school before and after the activities.  This would give a unique perspective through the eyes of a child.