Date of Award:

5-2010

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Shelley L. Knudsen Lindauer

Abstract

This study examined 180 matched pretest/posttest surveys of kindergarten teachers' perceptions of the transition children experienced upon kindergarten entry. Investigations of changes in the percentages of children perceived as not being ready for kindergarten and percentages of children who were rated as having had a very successful, moderately successful, or difficult transition from the pretest to the posttest were conducted. Additionally, changes in teachers' developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices from the beginning of the school year (pretest) to the end of the school year (posttest) were explored. Further analyses were conducted to find differences and associations between teacher and classroom demographics and changes from pretest to posttest. Teachers' developmentally appropriate beliefs were statistically significantly higher at the beginning of the school year (pretest) as compared to the end of the school year (posttest). Conversely, teachers' developmentally appropriate practices were statistically significantly higher at the end of the school year (posttest) when compared to the beginning of the school year (pretest). Even with the increase in teachers' developmentally appropriate practices at the end of the year, consistent with previous research, teacher's beliefs were found to be more developmentally appropriate than their reported practices. Study findings indicated that teachers reported a significantly higher percentage of children as having had a difficult transition at the beginning of the school year when compared to the end. At the beginning of the year, teachers rated 21.9% of children as having had a difficult transition, compared to 17.4% of children at the end of the school year. Some teachers reported 100% of the children in their class had a difficult transition at both the beginning and end of the school year. Overall, just under 60% of children were perceived as having some problems with kindergarten entry. Findings also indicated that teachers reported a significantly higher percentage of children were not ready for kindergarten entry at the beginning of the school year than at the end of the school year. Teachers perceived 27% of children were not ready for kindergarten at the beginning of the school year, with 22.4% of children rated as not ready at the end of the school year. Again, some teachers perceived 100% of their children as not being ready at both the beginning and end of the school year. Limitations, implications, and suggestions for future research were discussed.

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