ERIC Number: ED393838
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Social Context of Readiness.
Nelson, Regena Fails
This study examined how kindergarten teachers' views of readiness (maturational, learning, or school) are influenced by students from urban, suburban, and rural areas; by minority and non-minority students; and by students from lower and middle class backgrounds. The framework for the study was the social constructivist theory, the theory that all knowledge is socially constructed by actors involved in a given situation. The study sample consisted of 1,339 kindergarten teachers from a sample of 860 schools across the country who responded to the "Public School Kindergarten Teachers' Views on Children's Readiness for School" questionnaire. The results indicated that views of readiness were influenced by social context. In urban, poor, and minority contexts, teachers rejected the school readiness view and the academic practices it advocates. Teachers in middle class, white, suburban schools leaned toward maturational views of readiness. The underlying commonality of these views is a rejection of the academic curriculum in kindergarten. The inner city teachers' views may lead to changing the curriculum to be more developmentally appropriate while the suburban teachers' views can lead to changing children by holding them back or placing them in a special readiness program. Middle class parents prepare their children for academic programs through challenging academic curricula, equating this with higher quality education, while inner city students may in fact receive better preschool education through programs such as Head Start. The findings suggest that the significant social context factors are the school building environments which determine whether kindergartens are viewed as formal public education programs or early childhood education programs. Based on the results, it is recommended that to reach the readiness goal is to enhance the link between developmentally appropriate preschool programs and public school kindergarten programs. (ND)
Descriptors: Economically Disadvantaged, Educational Environment, Educational Theories, Kindergarten, Middle Class Students, Minority Group Children, Preschool Education, Preschool Teachers, Primary Education, School Readiness, Social Environment, Suburban Schools, Teacher Attitudes, Urban Education
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Project Head Start; Social Constructivism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).