Kindergarten Teachers' Perceptions of Kindergarten Readiness

Vallacchi, Lisa C.
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Early childhood is a critical development period for academic, social, and emotional learning. Children experience a variety of early care and educational environments from infancy to age five. Due to these diverse environments, students enter kindergarten at multiple levels of academic, social, and emotional readiness, creating an achievement gap for some at the start of their schooling journey. This study sought to determine kindergarten teachers’ perceptions of kindergarten readiness in northwest, New Jersey. Additionally, the research examined the instructional grouping structures used in the kindergarten classroom to address the diverse needs of learners. The researcher employed the survey method utilizing a cross sectional questionnaire design and interviews to collect information from a sample of 45 kindergarten teachers to determine perceptions of readiness and gather information on instructional grouping structures used in the classroom. To enhance the study and bring further insight to the findings of the survey results, the researcher held face-to-face interviews with six kindergarten teachers. The study found that kindergarten teachers’ perceive most of their students to have the readiness skills needed to be successful in kindergarten. However, the study revealed that all kindergarten classrooms studied have students that require supports academically, socially, and emotionally. Additionally, the study identified the need to further examine the instructional approaches used in the kindergarten classroom to meet the needs of students. Outcomes identified in this research will contribute to developing on-going professional development for administrators and teachers on effective early childhood practices to support the cognitive and emotional needs of kindergarten students. This research will also support the efforts to continue to bring preschool expansion funds to more communities in New Jersey to meet the diverse needs of all learners.
Lisa C. Vallacchi Dissertation