Getting Ready for School

An Examination of Early Childhood Educators' Belief Systems

Published in: Early Childhood Education Journal, v. 35, no. 4, Feb. 2008, p. 343-349

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2007

by Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo, Allison Sidle Fuligni, Sharon Ritichie, Carollee Howes, Lynn A. Karoly

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This study examines early childhood educators' beliefs about what children need prior to before entering kindergarten. Focus group interviews were conducted with early childhood educators from three learning settings: public center-based programs, private center-based programs, and family child care centers. Qualitative methods were used to analyze the data. Across program types, educators said that three levels should be addressed to help prepare a child for school: child, home, and teacher. The child must be physically and emotionally ready to engage with others and participate in learning opportunities, acquire basic skills, such as letter recognition, and have reasoning skills that enable the child to problem-solve. At the home level, emotionally preparing the child for the transition and creating a home environment that promotes learning were reported as key to getting children for school. Teacher relationships with parents also emerged as important school readiness factor. Differences across program types are discussed.

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