Free Essay On The Impact Of Attendance At Early Childcare/PRE-School On School Readiness
Parameters of the Study
The level of academic ability at which a child enters first grade may be influenced by the amount of preparedness that they gather while attending pre-school. According to Skibbe, Connor, Morrison, and, Jewkes, (2011, p. 42) pre-school serves quite essential purposes in preparing pupils for various aspects of the typical learning environment. Pre-school plays an essential role in developing early literacy of children, helping them learn to speak clearly, and acclimating them to daily school attendance. The social issue of concern regards child readiness for schooling. Child readiness means different things for teachers and parents. Parents and teachers may not agree on the standards that should be met by students upon entering grade school. Nonetheless, there is a common level of agreement that the child’s future success is dependent on his or her ability to participate successfully in the kindergarten experience (Ackerman & Barnett, 2005, p. 2).
The research is concerned with how children’s readiness to join kindergarten influences their future academic performance. The researcher notes that children are characteristically reluctant to leave the comfort they enjoy with their parents. Hence, some children may delay a year or two before joining kindergarten. Such a setback is described in figurative terms by Ackerman & Barnet (2005, p.4) as ‘holding back,' ‘holding out’ or ‘redshirting.' The aim of the study is to compare the degree of readiness for learning of students who join kindergarten late alongside students who do so at the traditional age, which is usually around 5 years. Primarily, the comparison will take the form of analyzing the students’ performance in first grade as measured by their mastery of academic concepts in three categories. The categories incorporate decoding and letter knowledge, language literacy, and self-regulation. In measuring decoding and letter knowledge, first graders were evaluated by their ability to write short, simple sentences (“The boy walks to the park,” “The girl sees the dog.”). Second, oral expression provides an indication of language literacy. The ability to use speech to communicate clearly is an important marker of grade school readiness. Finally, self-regulation refers to the child's willingness to stay in school once he or she is dropped off by the parent. A child that cries and protests every time he is brought to school is said to have poor self-regulation. This too serves as an important benchmark for determining grade school preparedness.
How does timely or late attendance of pre-school affect students' ability to learn and settle into the learning environment?
The researcher is concerned with the students' ability to read and write, express themselves in a language that can be understood, and finally stay in school without causing trouble. In a longitudinal study, these abilities form the dependent variables, while preschool attendance forms the independent variable. The attendance of students in preschool shall be measured against their capabilities to learn and settle in the learning environment. In this study, it is assumed that the only factor influencing school performance is preschool attendance. It is assumed that all students would fare equally poorly or equally well, given the same level of involvement in preschool.
The hypothesis of the study is that students who join kindergarten a year later perform less well than their counterparts who join kindergarten on time. In that regard, first-grade students with two years’ experience in kindergarten have a tendency to perform better than those with a year's experience. The study is based on a constructivist theory: specifically, the maturationist theory of child development. Constructivism is a theory that explains how people learn through experience and reflection. The maturationist theory is a constructivist theory that postulates that the maturity of a child depends on their ability to acquire knowledge as they age. It assumes that as long as a child is healthy he or she can grasp learning objectives from the environment. Therefore, a lag in educational attainment is due to not yet being mature enough to learn effectively. Essentially, to achieve learning objectives, students require time to grow and mature to the level of their peers (Krishnan, 2010, p. 14). Thus, the constructivist theory of maturation was chosen as the guideline along which this study was performed since it elaborates on the process of learning. As such, constructivism can be used to develop an understanding of students' learning outcomes. To that end, observation of participants' (pupils') characteristics is the method that the research will be based on.
Privacy concerns form a central part of ethics; hence, permissions from the parents and guardians of the students must be sought by the researcher. The researcher shall prepare a consent form to be filled and signed by the parents and guardians of the pupils. The researcher should also assure the parents and the teachers of confidentiality and security of the information that they provide. In addition, the researcher will not mention the students' names in the final report or in any part of the research paper in order to protect their identities.
The study shall be conducted through a survey approach. According to Krishnan (2010, p. 9), surveys provide various advantages, including improved data accuracy and cost savings on the research expedition. The survey shall encompass both qualitative and quantitative approaches in the collection of data. To that effect, the study shall employ both interviews and questionnaires as tools for the collection of data from teachers and parents on the academic performance of their first-grade children or pupils. The questionnaires shall be instrumental in the provision of quantitative data on the performance of first-grade pupils. The interviews will consist of both close-ended and open-ended questions. The questionnaires, on the other hand, shall consist of structured questions only that require specific answers; therefore, only close ended questions are used in the questionnaire.
In line with the epistemological position that students who enroll in kindergarten earlier present better learning outcomes as first graders, and based on the maturationist theory of child development, the study intends to follow the development of the child through observable characteristics in their performance from kindergarten up until first grade. The study will adopt non-probability sampling where respondents shall take part on a voluntary basis (Sadler, 2010, p. 369). Snowball sampling, a technique in which existing study participants recruit future participants from among their acquaintances, will form the basis of identification of respondents. It is incumbent upon the researcher to balance out the number of respondents respective of students who were late and on time in joining kindergarten.
Data Analysis Procedure
As mentioned earlier, the data collected incorporates both qualitative and quantitative data, equally. qualitative and quantitative data collected must both have a way to be analyzed. To that end, the method for collecting data identified in the previous section is three fold, consisting of interviews, questionnaires, and content analysis.
Similarly, qualitative data collected from the study shall also be analyzed in order to develop conclusive results. The analysis of qualitative data shall take the form of two distinct but complementary data analysis methods. The first of the methods will include content analysis in which the researcher shall identify salient themes. Secondly, the qualitative data analysis shall encompass a descriptive or interpretive approach in developing a coherent account of the phenomenon under study. The aim of an interpretive analysis is to provide an overview of observable characteristics of the phenomenon with respect to the topic under study.
Ackerman, D. J. & Barnett, S. W., 2005. Prepared for kindergatn: What Does "Readiness" Mean?, New Brunswick, NJ: NIEER.
Krishnan, V., 2010. Early Child Development: A Conceptual Model. ChristChurch, New Zealand, ECMap.
Sadler, G. R., 2010. Recruiting Hard-to-Reach united States Population Sub-Groups via Adaptations of Snowball Sampling Strategy. Nurse Health Sci, 12(3), pp. 369-374.
Skibbe, L. E., Connor, C. M., Morrison, F. J. & Jewkes, A. M., 2011. Schooling Effects on Preschoolers' Self-Regulation, Early Literacy, and Language Growth. Early Child Res Q, 26(1), pp. 42-49.