Date of Award:

1998

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Shelley L. K. Lindauer

Abstract

This study examined mothers', fathers ', preschool teachers', and kindergarten teachers' opinions regarding children's requisite kindergarten entry skills. Participants were 101 preschool teachers from eight counties in northern Utah, as well as 113 kindergarten teachers and 286 parents of kindergartners from five school districts in northern Utah. Questionnaires were administered to assess opinions regarding (a) the preschool teachers' role in preparing children for kindergarten, (b) the parental role in preparing children for kindergarten, (c) priorities for requisite kindergarten entry skills, (d) the importance of specific skills emphasized in preschool, and (e) the importance of specific skills emphasized in kindergarten.

Findings indicated that teachers agreed significantly more so than parents that preschool teachers could do more to prepare children for kindergarten. When asked what their child's preschool/day care teacher has done, parents' responses were similar to preschool teachers' when asked what they had done, suggesting consistency in what is taught in preschools, and strong communication with parents.

All groups similarly agreed that parents could do more to prepare children for kindergarten. While reading to children and reading/writing skills were the most popular responses listed by all four groups, some significant differences emerged regarding what parents could do. Kindergarten teachers mentioned reading to children and language/communication skills more frequently than did the other groups. Moreover, fathers mentioned responsibility/self-help skills less frequently than all other groups.

All four groups ranked how to listen, how to follow directions, and how to feel confident as the three most important requisite kindergarten entry skills. The four least important skills for parents, and preschool and kindergarten teachers were how to count, how to raise one's hand, how to write, and how to read.

Significant differences existed between all groups' ratings of the importance of specified skills to be emphasized in preschools/day care centers, as well as for skills to be emphasized in kindergarten, although the mean ratings for each skill were moderately high. Mothers, preschool teachers, and kindergarten teachers rated most skills higher than did fathers. Preschool and kindergarten teachers rated most skills very similarly.

Implications of these findings for parents, and preschool and kindergarten teachers are discussed. Suggestions for future research are then offered.