The Kids in Transition to School – Developmental Disabilities Project was a randomized efficacy trial of a preventive intervention to enhance psychosocial and academic school readiness in children with developmental disabilities and behavior or social difficulties who are entering kindergarten. One hundred children participated in the KITS intervention group, and 100 children participated in the services as usual group. Children in the KITS intervention group participated in a multi-component intervention program during the summer before school starts and for the first two months of school. The study investigated these two groups of pre-kindergarten children on immediate (prekindergarten), intermediate (kindergarten) and longer term (first grade) outcomes as well as examined a number of key factors that may impact intervention including: child history of EI/ECSE and other educational services, child characteristics, and familial risk factors. This project helped to demonstrate whether a program developed specifically to give at-risk children a boost in school readiness skills before kindergarten entry would be effective for children in this population.Year Project Began: 2008
Year Project Completed: 2012
Funder: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
Katherine C. Pears, Ph.D.
Oregon Social Learning Center
Active Research Projects
Primary Research and Clinical Interests
Dr. Pears studies a number of early childhood predictors of behavioral and social problems with the goal of developing preventive interventions. Specifically, she is interested in the effects of early adverse circumstances (including maltreatment and poverty) on children’s social and academic development. She has studied the school readiness skills and early school adjustment of high-risk children with a particular focus on self-regulatory skills. Additionally, Dr. Pears has examined longer term indicators of school adjustment in children at risk for poor school outcomes, including how school adjustment is transmitted from one generation to the next. She has translated this research into an intervention to improve the school readiness skills of children at high risk for poor academic and social adjustment: the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program (www.kidsintransitiontoschool.org). She is the principal investigator on three randomized efficacy trials of the KITS Program including maltreated children in foster care, children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring behavioral or social problems, and children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.