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Title:ParentsÕ and teachersÕ beliefs about childrenÕs school readiness in a high-need community
Author:Piotrkowski, C. S., Botsko, M., & Matthews, E.
Resource Type:Journal Article
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15(4)

pp. 537-558
Education Level:Early Childhood/Pre-K, Elementary
Literature type:Research and Evaluation

This studyÕs purpose is to compare the beliefs of preschool teachers, kindergarten teachers, and parents about childrenÕs knowledge and ability levels at kindergarten entry. The study was in one mostly Hispanic and African American low SES urban school district in New York State. Since they agreed about what children should know and be able to do at kindergarten entry, regardless of ethnicity or education, parents were treated as one group for analyses. Results indicate that parents and teachers held varying beliefs about school readiness. All groups rated compliance with teacher authority as absolutely necessary. While parents believed it was necessary for children to be able to express their feelings and needs in English, teachers did not agree. While parents believed that basic knowledge (e.g., body parts, colors, the alphabet) was necessary, teachers gave lower ratings of importance to these. Parents placed greater importance on children having advanced knowledge and believed that basic knowledge is more important than how children approach learning than did teachers. The study surveyed 355 parents of children in community-based preschools, 46 preschool teachers, 6 pre-kindergarten teachers, and 64 kindergarten teachers on their beliefs about self-care, socioemotional maturity and self-regulation, interaction with peers, interest and engagement in the world, motor skills, cognitive knowledge, communication, and adjustment to the classroom. Authors suggest ways that districts can unify their vision of what children should know and be able to do by kindergarten: 1) enable joint professional development and curriculum planning for Pre-K and kindergarten teachers, 2) have transition coordinators institutionalize regular communication about children making the transition to kindergarten, and 3) implement visits of Pre-K and kindergarten teachers to each othersÕ classrooms. Limitations of this study include a sample bias that excludes parents who are poorer, less educated, stay home with their preschoolers, and more likely to speak Spanish at home. In addition, because the study was conducted in only one district, findings may not be generalizable.

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