Date of Award:

1-1-2007

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 kindergarten teachers' developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices, and kindergarten teachers' perceived problems of children entering kindergarten. The relationship between kindergarten teachers' beliefs and practices and their perceived problems of children entering kindergarten was studied, as was the relationship between teachers' beliefs and practices and their perception of children's successful kindergarten entry.

Participants included kindergarten teachers from eight Utah school districts. Teachers were surveyed using both the Transition Practices, and the Teacher Beliefs and Practices Survey. From these surveys, data were collected on kindergarten teachers' beliefs and practices, and perceptions of problems children may have upon entering kindergarten.

Findings indicated that kindergarten teachers reported that most often children have problems due to " lack of academic skill s," "difficulty following directions," and difficulty working independent!/' About half of the children were perceived as having a very successful entry into kindergarten. Of teachers who responded, 72% felt that one fifth or more of their current kindergarten class was not ready for kindergarten upon entry.

Overall the kindergarten teachers in this study were considered developmentally appropriate, but teachers' reported developmentally appropriate beliefs were higher than their reported developmentally appropriate practices. The highest reported beliefs consisted of reading daily with children, helping children develop self-esteem, helping children develop social skills, guiding children's behavior in positive ways, and using individualized plans with children who have major behavior problems. The highest reported practices consisted of using music in the classroom, integrating various subjects, allowing children to experiment with writing, using manipulative in the classroom, and not using time-out as a means of discipline.

The findings show a trend in which teachers with higher beliefs reported that'1ack of academic skills' was a problem less often than the teachers with lower reported beliefs. Teachers with higher reported practices reported that a"non-academic preschool experience' was a problem for children more often than teachers with lower reported practices. Findings also indicated a trend in which teachers with higher beliefs reported a smaller percentage of children having a"difficult or very difficul!'entry into kindergarten than did teachers who reported lower developmentally appropriate beliefs. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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