Monday, April 15, 2013

Kindergarten readiness and preschools: teachers' and parents' beliefs within and across programs


Hatcher, B.,Nuner, J., & Paulsel, J. (2012).  Kindergarten readiness and preschools: teachers’ and parents’ beliefs within and across programs. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 14(2). Retrieved from http://www.ecrp.uiuc.edu/

In this article, there are three questions that the researchers are exploring. They ask:

 “What are the beliefs of parents and preschool teachers concerning meanings of kindergarten readiness? What are the beliefs of parents and teachers about the role of preschool in preparing their children/students for kindergarten? What sources of information do parents and teachers use to inform their beliefs and practices about children’s readiness for kindergarten?” (Hatcher, Nuner & Paulsel, 2012).

Though I am not particularly looking deeply into the relationships that preschools and kindergarten classrooms, this article shares valid information that I find interesting. Early in the article, Hatcher, Nuner & Paulson (2012) point out that many parents will cite specific skills as indicators for school readiness, whereas “program beliefs indicated shared perceptions of readiness linked to social and emotional development, attainment of literacy skills, and familiarity with school routines.”  I have seen the theme of parent perception versus school perception in a few other articles, and even in my own conversations. I am beginning to understand that since parents and schools have different ideas about what “school readiness” is, there is often a disconnect between the skills parents might practice with a child before they enter kindergarten. 

Hatcher, Nuner & Paulsel cite a Minnesota Department of Education Report that shared that “behaviors associated with kindergarten readiness include following rules and routines, taking turns, and communicating personal needs and feelings.” I think that this is useful information for me to search further into a definition of school readiness, or kindergarten readiness.  It is also helpful in determining information that would be helpful for parents to know and understand as they prepare for their child to transition to kindergarten. 

This article also presents the topic of sources of information on how and where parents gather their information about school readiness. Sources might include informal conversations with preschool teacher to local districts administering a formal readiness test. I would like to explore this area more in depth to discover different assessments that could be helpful for families with a child transitioning to kindergarten.  This study was based on interviews with parents that had their children enrolled in a preschool program, so this makes me wonder how a parent that does not have their child enrolled in a preschool setting might obtain information concerning school readiness. 

Another piece that struck me was the following quote:
“Anxiety about kindergarten and children’s readiness. Analysis revealed an affective component across participants’ interviews: anxiety about kindergarten expectations and children’s readiness. Of the 16 parent participants, 11 expressed concern about the upcoming kindergarten experience and whether their children would be ready for the expectations regarding behavior and academic performance that they believed to be a part of kindergarten. They voiced concerns about their children’s academic preparation, social skills, and ability to adapt to school routines, as well as kindergarten program characteristics (Hatcher, Nuner & Paulson, 2012).

I think that it is going to explore the ideas about anxiety regarding kindergarten readiness. In this quote, the focus of the anxiety is placed on the child in kindergarten, but I am finding that as a child transitions to kindergarten, there are many changes for the entire family. I think it would be interesting to hear from these parents once their child transitioned to kindergarten to see how the mentioned causes of anxiety rated compared to the actual experience. Would there be things that parents may not have even thought to worry/think about that could be helpful to know before a child transitions? 

At the end of the article, the authors conclude that “early identification of teacher and parent goals for children, frank discussion of upcoming transitions to kindergarten, and prioritization of specific parent/teacher readiness communication prior to kindergarten enrollment may help to alleviate anxieties and bolster positive images of kindergarten” (Hatcher, Nuner & Paulsel).

This end quote is encouraging for my hope to use library services to help inform parents and children about the transition to kindergarten. 






3 comments:

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