Values of Early Childhood Education

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Values of Early Childhood Education in the Public Schools System: It all begins long before first grade

Presented by: Ashley Austin
April 14, 2009
EDFL 568
Jackson State University

Research Proposal The purpose of my proposed study is to analyze the values of early childhood education in the public schools system. There are several things that I hope to accomplish by conducting this research. This research will further illustrate how a sound foundation on certain skills enhances the readiness for those students entering kindergarten. This research will also provide possible solutions for kindergarten retention rates in the public schools system. I plan to investigate the answers to my questions using data, personal interviews with teachers, research based journals and magazines. I plan to utilize documents such as report cards and standardized test scores from schools. There are several sub-questions that I plan to examine such as: How and when do we know a child is ready for kindergarten? What measures are being used to assess the readiness of kindergarten? Why does full-day kindergarten work? I am a Kindergarten teacher who has benefited greatly from having a sound foundation early in my academic career. Therefore, I will keep an open mind throughout this paper and only state facts based on information found during my research.

Parents, teachers, and other school employees are concerned with the issue of kindergarten readiness in today’s youth. Some districts start students in kindergarten based strictly on age. Other districts start students in kindergarten based on student’s scores from kindergarten screening tests. The screening tests are frequently administered by inexperienced employees (West). It is very difficult for a child to be confronted by a stranger, and perform several different tasks in a pressured testing atmosphere. Although these two ways have worked in our country for years, times are changing. Full-day kindergarten is also a growing trend throughout the nation that has had a positive impact on kindergarten retention nationwide (Atkins-Burnett and Meisels 37). This seems to be making up for the lack of unity in the kindergarten admission throughout the United States. Although it seems to be patching up everything properly this should not be used to patch up the mistakes of the way we decide on a child’s readiness to enter kindergarten. Mrs. Cheryl Mueller, former director of the Center for Child Development on the campus of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, states that these screening tests are mostly developed locally and claim to test things that are not important to the readiness of a child in kindergarten. At the Center for Child Development where Mrs. Mueller previously worked, the teachers must administer an evaluation two times during the school year which tests the child’s knowledge on several different tasks that determine the child’s readiness(see figure 1). Mueller believes that a pre-k program is imperative for a child to be fully prepared for kindergarten at age five. This should be the standard nationwide (Mueller). The “No Child Left Behind Act” now in place across the country has raised the bar on pre-k classrooms nationwide. In 2006, pre-k school teachers were required to hold an associates’ degree (Tozer). With these standards being raised it ensured that proper education in a pre-k classroom would be take place and encourage more parents across the nation to get involved in placing their children in a pre-k program. This would significantly reduce the kindergarten retention rate says Mueller. There is no statewide standard, which prevents a lot of children from advancing to the first grade. The kindergarten retention rates continue to climb all over the country. The Education Statistics Services Institute states 40% of children that are retained in kindergarten are more...
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