A Preliminary Study on the Relationship Between Kindergarteners' Self-Reported School Readiness and School Liking: Including Children's Voices in School Readiness Research
AuthorMora, Bernadette Alexandra
AdvisorLegg Burross, Heidi
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSchool readiness is a prominent issue in early childhood education as adults strive to prepare young children for school. The desirability of school readiness lies within the notion that if children enter kindergarten prepared, then they will be successful throughout their schooling. However, school readiness is a complex concept. It is perceived differently by parents, teachers, policy makers, and researchers. Nationally, children are the only stakeholders whose voices are ignored in the discussions of school readiness. Based on three frameworks, that children are active agents in their experiences, that children have the right to be heard, and that children should not be silenced by traditional research practices, this dissertation proposed that children could participate in research to express their views about being ready for school. Since the central argument for school readiness is that children who enter school prepared will be successful later in school, it was imperative to determine how children’s views on school readiness were linked to later school-related outcomes. Therefore, this dissertation also sought children’s perceptions of their adjustment to school (i.e. their attitudes toward school). In a two-part study, 36 kindergartners from Southern Arizona participated in interviews, activities, and a survey to discuss their perceptions of being ready for school in the beginning of kindergarten and their attitudes toward school at the end of kindergarten. Participants consistently revealed that they needed to create positive peer relationships and that they needed to comply with institutional demands (rules, routines, and tasks) in order to be ready for and succeed in school. In addition, participants revealed three influential factors that affected their attitudes toward school: types of activities (academic versus extracurricular), play, and peer relationships. Participants who didn't like academic activities, who didn’t view school as a place for play, and who had fewer peer relationships struggled with adjusting to school and reported low school liking. Finally, a qualitative analysis was conducted to investigate trends that emerged between kindergarteners' perceptions of school readiness at the beginning of the year and their attitudes toward school at the end of the school year. School readiness perceptions that were centered on the rules, routines, and tasks (work) of school were related to less positive attitudes toward school and perceptions centered on knowledge/skills (learning) and prosocial behaviors were related to more positive attitudes toward school. These patterns suggest that students will enjoy school if they perceive school to be intellectually and socially empowering rather than institutionally limiting. These findings confirm that young children have unique insights of school readiness and what they need to succeed in school. Additionally, their early perceptions of school readiness are related to their later attitudes toward school suggesting that these views should be given due weight. In order for these views to be given due weight, adults should consider how to incorporate children's perspectives regarding school readiness into educational practices and policies. Children's perspectives provide insight into the experiences and challenges of being a new student. Only by listening to children can adults identify how to support and prepare children for success in school.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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