Date of Award:

2001

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 parental and teacher expectations of kindergarten readiness of Latino children. The perceptions ofLatino mothers, Latino fathers, and kindergarten teachers were analyzed and compared. Specifically, parents' and teachers' responses were compared in three areas: perceptions of what parents can do to prepare children for kindergarten, priorities for requisite kindergarten entry skills, and rankings of the importance of specified skills to be emphasized in kindergarten. Differences between kindergarten teachers' expectations for nonnative English-speaking children and native English-speaking children were also examined. The parent sample consisted of 35 Latino mother/father pairs. AJI were parents of children who entered kindergarten Fall, 2000. The teacher sample consisted of 33 kindergarten teachers from two large school districts in a western state. Major findings indicate that some differences do exist between teachers' and Latino parents' priorities for requisite kindergarten entry skills as well as their rankings of the importance of specified skills to be emphasized in kindergarten. Supporting previous research, both mothers and fathers rated academic concepts such as counting, reading, and writing higher than teachers. By contrast, teachers rated more developmentally appropriate concepts higher. All groups agreed that parents could do more to prepare children for kindergarten, but parents and teachers differed in their responses of what parents could specifically do to encourage this preparation. Teachers mentioned reading to children, enriching the child 's environment, and communication more often than both mothers and fathers. Parents were more likely to mention emotional support and discussing school with their children as ways parents could foster kindergarten preparation. Teachers expected native English-speaking children to know how to follow directions upon kindergarten entry more than they expected it for nonnative English speaking children. Furthermore, teachers who had training in ESL education placed more emphasis on incorporating speaking skills in nonnative children's kindergarten curricula than did teachers without multicultural training. Also included in the study are concrete examples of concerns Latino parents have as their child enters school, challenges teachers face in having linguistic diversity in their classroom, as well as teacher suggestions for improving ESL kindergarten preparation. Implications of these findings for parents, schools, and children are discussed. Suggestions for future research are then offered.

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