Almost all young children around the world come to formal schooling eager to learn even though this new educational milieu will challenge their intellectual, social, and emotional development. These children often come from a variety of cultural, ethnic, and economic backgrounds that create important differences among them at school entry. These differences have often been used as an excuse by educators for the poor performance of some of these children as they face the demands of school learning. This book traces the transition of a group of poor African-American children in semi-rural North Carolina, who, because of ethnicity and economic circumstances, were at risk for a poor transition to school. Half these children were part of an intensive early daycare intervention program to prepare them for formal schooling and half were not. Through an examination of talk and interviews within their home community and with teachers and peers in the classroom, a portrait is painted of the transition to school of these children and their families.
The author is Professor of Human Development at the Pennsylvania State Univesity.