Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Shelley L. Lindauer


Shelley L. Knudsen Lindauer


Kaelin M. Olsen


Randall M. Jones


This study was an exploration of 450 Utah kindergarten teachers' perceptions of problems children face at the time of kindergarten entry, as well as an examination of the teachers' developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices. Consistent with previous research, teachers' beliefs were found to be more developmentally appropriate than their reported practices. This study also investigated the relationship between both teacher and classroom/school demographics and teachers' developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices. Further, the relationship between teachers' perceptions of children's transition to kindergarten and beliefs, practices, teacher demographics, and classroom/school demographics was studied.

Study findings indicated that teachers perceive 20% of kindergarten children as experiencing a difficult school entry, with some teachers reporting 100% of their class as having a difficult entry into kindergarten. Teachers reported 25% of children as not being ready for kindergarten, with about 20% of teachers judging at least half of their class as not being ready, and an additional 7% of teachers estimating that 75% or more of their class was not ready for kindergarten. "Lack of academic skills" was the transition problem rated as most prevalent for kindergarteners, while "immaturity" was the item perceived as the least problematic at kindergarten entry.

Findings also exhibited a trend that teachers with more appropriate beliefs perceived a higher percentage of children experiencing very successful entry than did teachers with less appropriate beliefs. Special education and early childhood licensed teachers, as well as those who had received their ESL endorsement, consistently judged "half or more" of their class as having a number of transition problems, including "problems with social skills," as well as "difficulty communicating/language problems," and not having a "non-academic preschool experience."

Overall, as the percentage of special education children enrolled increased, and the number of children qualifying for free lunch increased, teachers perceived more children as not ready for school and/or having many problems upon entry. Another trend was that teachers in urban schools consistently reported fewer numbers of children as experiencing successful kindergarten entry, and larger percentages of children as not ready for school. Limitations, implications, and suggestions for future research are discussed.