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 Degree Discipline: Early Childhood Education
Accreditation Facilitation Projects: Supporting High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care
High-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) are linked to positive developmental outcomes for children. Systems have been created to define, measure and promote high-quality ECEC. National accreditation status is deemed the gold standard of a high-quality program, yet many centers are unable to achieve this without assistance. With the help of Accreditation Facilitation Projects (AFPs), many low-income centers are able to achieve accreditation. Centers collaborating with an AFP reap many benefits including financial support, ongoing training and mentoring, and guidance through the accreditation process. AFPs invest greatly in the centers they collaborate with and the longer the center takes to achieve accreditation, the more resources an AFP must expend. The purposes of this study were to understand if the educational level of center director, the total enrollment of a center, or the percentage of children receiving government subsidies could predict the time it takes for a center to complete the accreditation process while receiving assistance from an AFP, and to determine if there are differences in attitudes about program accreditation between center directors and early learning specialists who serve as accreditation mentors to the directors. Findings revealed that a) the higher educational level of program directors is associated with a quicker time to program accreditation, b) both the total enrollment of the center and the percentage of children receiving government subsidies do not predict time to accreditation, c) the number of total staff in a center is associated with a quicker time to accreditation, and d) there is no significant difference between the directors' attitudes and early learning specialists' attitudes toward accreditation and accreditation facilitation projects. AFPs looking to streamline their accreditation process and provide accountability to their stakeholders regarding their investments over time can use these findings to choose to collaborate with centers that have directors who have at least a bachelor's degree in order to shorten the time to accreditation.
African-American Parents' Nutritional Habits: Implications for the Prevention of Early Childhood Obesity.
This research study addressed the nutritional beliefs and habits of African-American parents of children aged 3 to 6 years old. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were employed. Quantitative data was collected via the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire as well as a demographic questionnaire. Qualitative data was collected from oral interviews conducted by the researcher. Seventy-five parents or guardians participated in the study. Findings for the research questions revealed the participants' beliefs about nutrition directly correlated with food they provided for their children and most believed nutrition rather than genetics played a role in their child(ren)'s weight. Furthermore, parents from lower income families consumed more home cooked meals per week and those with higher incomes did not consume more fast food per week. Food intake restriction and control in feeding was similar among all participants, regardless of restriction and control in feeding was similar among all participants, regardless of education or income level. Suggestions for future research were included.
Attitudes of American and Korean Early Childhood Educators Regarding Programs for Gifted/Talented Young Children.
The purpose of this research was to study the attitudes of Korean and American early childhood educators concerning gifted children and programs aimed specifically at meeting their needs. The study examined general attitudes towards giftedness and gifted education programs and factors that might affect those attitudes. The study also examined desirable environments for young gifted children. Twenty-item questionnaires were developed and logically divided into six sections (identification, teacher environment, classroom environment, parent environment, educational rights, and program). A systematic process of development, analysis, and refinement of the questionnaire was done. The questionnaires were given randomly to American educators attending the 1996 National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference. A random Korean sample included early childhood educators listed in the Korean Association for Early Childhood Education Directory (1995-1996) and the Korean Association for Child Care Directory (1995-1996). All subjects were members of one of three groups: (a) teacher educators, (b) teachers, and (c) administrators/directors. The surveys found agreement between Korean and American early childhood educators on the importance of knowing the strengths of individual gifted children, the need to stimulate higher order thinking skills, the rights of gifted children to an appropriate education, a perception of more work for the teacher to add these options, and a feeling that gifted programs would be difficult because of the large number of children in classes. The teachers also agreed that it is not difficult to assess or identify gifted preschoolers and having programs for the gifted is not elitist, but that parents should have the main responsibility for meeting the needs of gifted preschoolers and that many gifted strategies are good for all children.
Children of Teenage Mothers: School Readiness Outcomes and Predictors of School Success.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of teenage motherhood on the school readiness, literacy skills, and parental involvement of children participating in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) early intervention program, as well as make recommendations for optimal outcomes. Study children were participants in HIPPY at five diverse, urban school districts. Using a mixed method design, this study examined the results of quantitative measures of children's school readiness, literacy skills, and parent involvement along with qualitative data collected through mothers' responses to two, open-ended questions related to their satisfaction with HIPPY. According to results of independent samples t-test, mean scores on school readiness and parent involvement measures were not statistically significantly different for the children of teenage mothers and the children of traditional age mothers. However, there were moderate effect sizes for parent involvement and physical development indicating some practical significance. Chi-square results of literacy skills indicated that the children of teenage mothers were almost twice as likely [c2 (1, N = 36) = 4.21, p < .05] to have literacy skills that were "not on grade level" according to scores on the TPRI/Tejas. Descriptive discriminant analysis (DDA) indicated that the multivariate relationship of the four parent involvement variables statistically significantly contributed to whether children born to teenage mothers had literacy skills on grade-level, but it was not significant for the children of traditional-age mothers. DDA analysis conducted on the school readiness variables did not yield any significant results. In addition, odds ratios conducted between literacy level and each of the parent involvement and school readiness variables indicated an increased probability of a child's literacy skills being on grade level when scores were high, but these increases were not statistically significant. While there were differences in literacy skills, teen mothers indicated, through their responses to two, open-ended questions, their desire to for more support for their children in this area.
Children with Autism in Taiwan and the United States: Parental Stress, Parent-child Relationships, and the Reliability of a Child Development Inventory
Autism is one of the fastest growing childhood disorders in the world, and the families that have children with autism experience frustration and stress due to many practical problems. with the increase in the prevalence of autism, it is urgent to raise awareness of autism and to provide services and support for children with autism and their parents to improve the parent-child relationship and moderate the parental stress. with regard to families with children diagnosed as autistic, the purposes of this study are to: (a) examine the group differences in parental stress and parent-child relationship between Taiwan and the United States based on racial and cultural differences; (b) identify factors, if any, that influence the parental stress and parent-children relationship; (c) investigate if there are differences in the results of child development when children are diagnosed with autism in these two countries; (d) establish the Battelle Development Inventory-II in Mandarin Chinese version for use of evaluation with development delays in Taiwan. Findings revealed that: (a) the Battelle Developmental Inventory, Second Edition (BDI-II), is highly reliable with a great value of internal consistency in the use with parents and children with autism in Taiwan; (b) there is no significant difference in child development and parent-child relationship based on geographic region (Taiwan and the United States); (c) parents of children with autism in the United States overall have a more positive parent-child relationship and parenting attitude than parents of children with autism in Taiwan; (d) Children with autism who have a positive relationship with their parents have a higher pass rate on the evaluation of child development; (e) fathers reported higher pass rate on BDI-II than mothers in one of the standard deviations of over BDI-II performance; (f) parent-child relationships are positively correlated with parental stress; (g) parents who received services and support from a government agency or school in Taiwan have significantly lower scores on the parent-child relationship inventory; (h) fathers of children with autism have higher stress level than mothers; (i) parents who received services and support from parent groups (such as PTA or parent association) and from a government agency or school feel less stress than parents that did not receive those supports in Taiwan.
Children's Spiritual Development: Analysis of Program Practices and Recommendations for Early Childhood Professionals.
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which faith-based preschools promote spiritual development in preschoolers. The participants in the study were faith-based early childhood teachers and administrators from seven states. Early childhood professionals representing 11 Christian faith traditions completed written surveys or online surveys. A total of 201 faith-based educators completed the survey; 20 respondents participated in semi-structured interviews. The concurrent triangulation mixed-method design provided data on 8 program dimensions which support children's spiritual development: prayer, Bible literacy, worship, building character, service opportunities, assessment, parental involvement and context. I analyzed quantitative data using descriptive and inferential statistics. All items were examined using mean, standard deviation, frequency, and percentages. Qualitative data gathered from semi-structured interviews were coded and analyzed using NVivo8® qualitative analysis software (QSR International, Inc., Cambridge, MA, From this data I identified the extent to which faith-based preschool programs support children's spiritual development through the practices of prayer, Bible literacy, worship, building character, service opportunities, assessment, parental involvement and context. Data analyses revealed statistically significant differences in faith-based teachers' hours of training in children's spiritual development across all program practice dimensions. A key finding of the study was that training in children's spiritual development is important regardless of the education level of the early childhood professional. Qualitative data indicated no standardized spiritual development training in faith-based preschools represented in this study. The mixed-method analysis revealed that the 8 program practice dimensions were not always connected in a framework that supported children's spiritual development. Recommendations for professional practice include a program framework to support children's spiritual development in faith-based preschool programs; training for faith-based early childhood professionals in children's spiritual development; and formulating a definition of children's spiritual development.
Comparison of Childrearing Attitudes Between Church-Related Korean American Immigrant Parents and Korean Parents
The purposes of this study were to compare the childrearing attitudes of church-related Korean American immigrant parents and Korean parents as measured by the Parent As A Teacher Inventory (PAAT), and to identify relationships between the PAAT childrearing subsets and demographic variables including sex of child, sex of parent, education of parent, family income level, maternal employment, accessibility to the child, language of parent, and length of residence in America.
A Comparison Study of the Experiences of Educators and Non-Educators in Promoting Reading and Reading Related Skills of their Own Preschool Children
The rationale for this study was to evaluate the home literacy environments of educators and non-educators to investigate whether educators provide "richer" home environments than non-educator mothers. This research explores the mothers' perceptions of their children, views of reading, methods of promoting a positive reading environment, dealing with personal demands and emotions, and their expectations related to promoting reading. The participants in the study are 2 elementary school teachers with preschool children and 2 non-educator mothers with preschool children. Results indicated that being an educator is not an isolated characteristic of providing a rich home environment. The educational attainment of the mother was discovered to have greater influence on home literacy environment than the mother's profession. Higher educated mothers provided richer home environments than their less educated counterparts.
Decision Making Factors in Child Caregiver Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
This study investigated decision making factors used by child caregivers to identify suspected child abuse and neglect and collected data on caregiver training in the recognition and reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. Data was collected in July 1999 in fourteen north Texas childcare programs. One hundred twenty three teaching and administrative staff completed a survey based on Jacobson, A., Glass, J. and Ruggiere, P. (1998). Five teachers and five administrators chosen for convenience were read eleven vignettes describing possibly abusive situations to decide whether they were reportable or non-reportable, and to indicate factors used to make their decisions. Administrators (50%) and teachers (13.3%) reported being unfamiliar with child abuse and neglect definitions and reporting laws. Two thirds (66.7%) of the administrators and 39.8% of the teachers had received specific training in recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect. Administrators were more likely than teachers to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Teachers often reported to program administrators rather than state designated authorities. All subjects relied on information about children, but administrators also used information about parents, with teachers more likely to make excuses for parental actions. With 110 reporting opportunities, training was cited as a factor only twice by administrators. No teachers made reports to anyone other than program administrators, a factor named deference in this study. Four of five administrators expected deference from teachers when reporting decisions were made. Present training in the recognition and reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect is inadequate. Caregivers need additional training in differences between accidental and intentional injuries, detection of child sexual abuse and emotional neglect, recognition and assessment of injuries among infants and toddlers, and mandated reporting procedures. Further research on optimal training for accurate reporting of suspected abuse and neglect is needed. A mandate to report to authorities outside the child care center should be clarified in state law. Licensing individuals as well as programs would strengthen reporting by caregivers.
A Descriptive Study of Parenting Styles and Behaviors of 4-Year-Old Children When Parents Participate in a Parenting Education Program
This study described and explored perceptions of the context and behaviors of seven 4-year-old children whose parents attended a parenting education program. The problem was to explore a group of 9 volunteer parents' perceptions of their parenting styles and perceptions of their 4-year-old children at home while the parents participated in, and completed, a minimum of 4 out of 6 Active Parenting Today parenting education classes. Volunteer parents were recruited during public school registration for prekindergarten. In addition, perceptions of 4 teachers and 4 classroom educational aides in regard to behaviors of the 4-year-old children whose parents participated in and completed the Active Parenting Today program were explored.
Development of a proposed toddler caregiver training program for South Korea.
Based on the survey results of 150 South Korea toddler caregivers about training needs, I developed a relationship-based approach for a toddler caregiver training program. The training program was modified using suggestions provided by 6 South Korean professors, who were asked to review the program. Survey findings revealed that: (a) All participants (toddler caregivers) perceived that it is necessary for caregivers to attend training. However, most (72.2%) found that it was difficult to attend training programs more than 1 time per year because it was hard to find a substitute teacher (64%). Participants desired to attend training programs on toddler care because of the lack of in-service education (26%), curriculum (24%), and training programs (15.3%); (b) Caregivers who had the third-degree caregiver certification preferred to learn parent education more than child development. However, caregivers who had a higher degree of caregiver certification preferred to learn child development more than parent education; and (c) Caregivers who had more than 5 years of teaching experience preferred to learn about the teacher's role more than caregivers who had fewer than 4 years of teaching experience. Future studies need to evaluate the effect of this relationship-based training program for toddler caregivers in relation to improvement in the quality of child care and interaction between caregivers and toddlers. A large-scale study would increase the generalizability of research findings. A larger sample size from different cities in South Korea and random sampling would generate more reliable findings.
Development of Place-Value Numeration Concepts in Chinese Children: Ages 3 through 9
This investigation examined Chinese children's development of place-value numeration concepts from ages 3 through 9, compared the development of place-value understanding of these Chinese children with that of American and Genevan children whose performances had been described in the literature, and examined the influence of adult assistance during Chinese children's performances on some of the place-value tasks.
Developmentally Appropriate Beliefs and Practices of Public and Private Kindergarten Teachers in the United States and Taiwan
The purposes of the present study are to: (a) describe the beliefs and practices of the US and Taiwan (TW) public and private kindergarten teachers regarding developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), (b) examine the group differences between the four groups of teachers, and (c) identify the salient factors related to the variability of developmentally appropriate beliefs and practice in these teachers. Three hundred and fifty-seven kindergarten teachers participated in the study. The group sizes were 123, 123, 57, and 54 for Taiwan private, Taiwan public, US private, and US public kindergarten teachers, respectively. A survey was used to collect data. Findings from this study showed: (a) Both the US and Taiwan kindergarten teachers highly endorsed beliefs about DAP; (b) US and Taiwan kindergarten teachers also held strong beliefs about developmentally inappropriate practices (DIP); (c) DAP activities occurred regularly in the classrooms; (d) developmentally inappropriate practice (DIP) activities also took place a lot although they were lower than the DAP activities; (e) the Taiwan teachers had higher beliefs about DAP and lower beliefs about DIP than the US teachers; (f) the US teachers reported both higher DAP and DIP activities than the Taiwan teachers; (g) there were no differences between public and private kindergarten teachers; (h) hierarchical regression analyses using teacher's personal demographic variables as the first block and numbers of boys and girls as the second block were generally not effective; (i) there were different sets of best predictors from the backward regression for different dimensions of developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices; and (j) beliefs about DAP and DIP were usually more powerful than the demographic and classroom variables in predicting the DAP and DIP activities. Future studies are needed to refine the Teacher Belief Scale and Instructional Activity Scale instruments and include classroom observations to verify and expand the findings. Future teacher training on DAP should promote beliefs about DAP and reduce beliefs about DIP. Enhancing teachers' skills to implement the DAP activities and decrease the DIP activities is suggested.
Direct and Indirect Effects of Parenting Style with Child Temperament, Parent-Child Relationship, and Family Functioning on Child Social Competence in the Chinese Culture: Testing the Latent Models
Interactional and contextual models have been conceptually proposed in understanding parental influences on children. Yet, empirical model testing has been limited. The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the direct and indirect effects of parenting style on child social competence using structural equation modeling in a sample of 544 Chinese families with 6-9 years old children, mainly singleton, residing in Nanjing, China. Five latent models were tested: (a) the direct model between parenting style and child social competence, (b) child temperament as a moderator, (c) parent-child relationship as a mediator, (d) the interaction model between parenting style and family functioning, and (e) bidirectional models of parenting style concurrently with parent-child relationship, and family functioning predicting child social competence. Findings showed: (a) The direct relationship between parenting style and child social competence was significant in both parents with authoritative parenting style on the positive direction, whereas authoritarian and permissive parenting styles on the negative direction; (b) child temperament did not moderate parenting style on child social competence; (c) father-child relationship mediated paternal parenting style on child social competence, whereas maternal parenting style did not; (d) family functioning neither moderated nor mediated the relationship between parenting style and child social competence for both parents; and (e) The four-factor prediction models on child social competence turned out to be unidirectional. For the mothers, the best model was from family functioning to mother-child relationship, to maternal parenting style, and finally to child social competence. Maternal parenting style was the significant proximal factor. For the fathers, it was from family functioning to paternal parenting style, to father-child relationship, and then to child social competence. Father-child relationship had the direct impact, whereas the influence of paternal parenting style was distal through father-child relationship. Findings from this study suggest that the Chinese parents should use more authoritative and less authoritarian and permissive parenting, and develop good parent-child relationships in the daily interactions with their children. Future studies need to use larger and better data to validate these models, or to extend the findings with other important child variables to explore the child's active agency.
The Disney Influence on Kindergarten Girls' Body Image
Media is now a part of the early childhood world. In many countries, including industrialized and developing countries, children spend more time consuming various kinds of media. The impact of media on children's perception of their body images has been and continues to be a concern of parents and early childhood professionals. This research examined the influence of Disney movies on Thai kindergarten girls' body images and self-esteem. Thai kindergarten girls completed three measures of body self-image: the Body Figure Preference Scale, the Body Esteem Scale, and the Self-Esteem Scale. The girl participants were randomly assigned to two groups: focused on a female theme (FFT) and focused on a non-human theme (FNT). The experimental group viewed "female" Disney movie themes, while the control group viewed "animal" Disney movie themes. Girls in the experimental group expressed greater body image dissatisfaction scores after watching Disney movies, which was an expected finding. Results from the present study suggest that girls in both groups become concerned about their body esteem after video exposure. However, there was no significant difference in self-esteem between girls in FFT and FNT. In summary, the findings of this study support the belief that Disney movies influence young girls' perceptions of their body image, and they have an awareness of their body size. It can be concluded that Disney movies have an influence on Thai girls' body image dissatisfaction and body esteem. The results also indicated that Thai girls are not totally aware of the influence of Disney media on their self-esteem. Understanding how Disney movies, in particular, and other media, in general, influence young children, especially girls, can encourage parents and educators to identify risk factors associated with children's body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
Early Childhood Educators' Beliefs and Practices about Assessment
Standardized tests are being administered to young children in greater numbers in recent years than ever before. Many more important educational decisions about children are being based on the results of these tests. This practice continues to escalate despite early childhood professional organizations' calls for a ban of standardized testing for children eight years of age and younger. Many early childhood educators have become dissatisfied with multiple-choice testing as a measure of student learning and are increasingly using various forms of alternative assessment to replace the more traditional testing formats. Teachers seem to be caught in the middle of the controversy between standardized testing and alternative assessment. This research examined what early childhood educators in one north Texas school district believe about assessment of young children and what assessment methods they report using in their classrooms, as well as factors which influence those beliefs and practices. The sample for this study was 84 teachers who taught prekindergarten through third grade. An eight-page questionnaire provided quantitative data and interviews and the researcher's journal provided qualitative data.
Early Literacy of Young Children in New Immigrant and Native Families in Taiwan: Educational and Socio-political Implications
Because of shifting demographics, the Taiwanese government opened the country to immigrants from Southeast Asia. Foreign-born brides of Taiwanese men have contributed significantly to this trend of new immigration, inspiring fears that their children, inadequately prepared for the literacy requirements of early education, might negatively impact the educational system and society. to better understand the socio-political implications of this cultural shift, the researcher gathered data from one hundred and twenty immigrant and native families with first graders in six major cities in Taiwan. Purposes of this research are to: (a) investigate to what extent, if any parenting style is impacted by differences in immigration status between native Taiwanese and Southeast Asian immigrant mothers, (b) examine to what extent, if any maternal parenting styles relate to children’s early literacy, and (c) determine to what extent, if any maternal parenting styles along with the children’s and familial characteristics associate with children’s early literacy. the study found that (a) immigrant mothers are statistically lower on authoritative and higher on permissive parenting style than native mothers; (b) immigrant mothers’ participation in integration programs does not relate to maternal parenting styles or children’s literacy performances; (c) children from immigrant families are significantly lower than their peers from native families on receptive vocabulary and phonological awareness; (d) children from higher income families perform better on receptive vocabulary than their lower income peers; (e) children whose mothers are senior high school graduates achieve significantly better on literacy skills than others. Furthermore, children of mothers with higher education perform better on receptive vocabulary than those whose mothers have lower education levels; (f) there was little relationship between children’s literacy development and the three maternal parenting styles; (g) age and gender are the most significant predictors of children’s literacy development. the limited influence of parenting styles on childhood literacy may be attributed to cultural differences. Parenting styles theory and instrumentation emerged from Western research and parenting expectations. Translations, both linguistic and cultural, may be imperfect once grafted onto Taiwanese society. Further complications potentially arise when foreign-born women carry their own varied cultural expectations and start families in an unfamiliar society. This research would suggest that government-sponsored programs could address the demographic inequalities which characterize this segment of Taiwanese society.
An Ecological Understanding of Teacher Quality in Early Childhood Programs: Implications and Recommendations
This research examined whether or not relationships exist between preschool teacher quality and parent involvement as indicated by the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Model of Parent Involvement Survey. Additionally, the study also considered family income and child membership in special education as predictors of parent involvement. The survey instruments included the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale, Revised (ECERS-R) and the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Parent Involvement Survey. A total of 306 parents across 35 preschool classrooms participated in the study. Effect sizes, beta weights and structure coefficients from a series of multiple regression analyses measured the relationship between variables. A regression equation comprised of teacher quality, family income and child membership in special education was statistically significant in predicting parent school-based involvement. In the school-based involvement model the predictors teacher quality and child membership in special education accounted for a greater percentage of variance than did family income. Teacher quality demonstrated a small, negative beta weight but accounted for the greatest amount of variance among the three predictors within the school-based parent involvement model. A negative relationship between teacher quality and school-based parent involvement suggested that as teacher quality improved, parents reported less involvement in school-based activities and events. Findings for special education membership, however, demonstrated a reverse effect in the model and appeared to have a positive significant effect on school-based involvement of parents. The study contributes to the literature on the relationship between teacher quality and parent involvement in early childhood preschool programs.
Educating Young Children with Autism in Inclusive Classrooms in Thailand
This study investigated what constitutes a teaching curriculum for students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand. The researcher employed 3 qualitative methods: semi-structured interviews, document analysis of curricula and lesson plans, and nonparticipant observations. Six schools were selected as the sites. Participants for interview included 6 principals and 24 teachers. The researcher observed one inclusive classroom for each of the 6 selected schools. The study concentrated on 3 questions: (a) What contributes to appropriate instructional curricula to promote teaching of students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand? (b) What teaching strategies improve the achievement and learning skills of students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand? (c) What are the problems of curricula for teaching students with autism in inclusive classroom in Thailand? Key findings for the research questions were as follows: Common features of effective curricula for teaching students with autism in inclusive classrooms include opportunities, health care, specialized curriculum, students' individual needs and abilities, guidelines of teaching, teacher training and supervision, transition plan, parent involvement, tools/classroom environment, and students' class assignments. The teaching strategies include varying the teaching format (large group, small group, and one-on-one), teaching functional communication (giving direction, close-ended questions or open-ended questions), reinforce communication, using demonstration, modeling, and shaping to teach skills, expecting to gather the child's attention, demonstrating nonverbal communication (use gestures with speech), using appropriate language for the child (short sentence structure), providing visual materials (books, computers, or real objects), starting with small intervals of time and reinforcing, using other children as peer models for helping, working to maintain eye contact, asking the child to say the word, pointing to objects with hands and with gestures, including regular exercise (active movement activity), providing time to be alone, and using math activity (to include counting one-to-one, odd and even, and patterns). Moreover, the results revealed that all of interviewees always used applied behavior analysis (ABA), such as discrete trial instruction (DTI), task analysis, and peer tutoring in their classrooms. However, these classrooms never used floor time approach. The problems in teaching students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand include lack of special teachers, lack of knowledge or training for teachers, lack of a good plan and curriculum, lack of supportive services or effective collaboration, lack of budget, and lack of essential information and materials.
Effectiveness of a Web-based Course in Facilitating the Integration of Technology Into Early Childhood Curricula.
Although technology is available and used in early childhood classrooms, little is known about what early childhood teachers believe about the use of technology and how technology is integrated into early childhood curricula. This study was designed to (a) determine the beliefs of early childhood teachers about technology integration into early childhood curricula and (b) describe the extent to which early childhood teachers integrate technology in their early childhood curricula. The participants included 39 prekindergarten teachers who volunteered to participate in a technology integration project. The treatment group accessed a Web-based technology integration training program and participated in two classroom observations, along with completing an attitudinal questionnaire pretest and posttest. The Prekindergarten Web-based Technology Integration Training included four modules each expanding the following themes: (a) national and state standards and guidelines for technology; (b) setting up a computer center; (c) integrating technology; (d) using the digital camera. The control group participated in two classroom observations without the benefit of the Web-based technology integration training program and completed the attitudinal questionnaire pretest and posttest. Results indicate that Prekindergarten teachers believe that technology can enhance a child's learning, but there was no statistically significant difference between the control and the treatment group.
Effects of a Brain Improvement Program on Students' Reading Achievement
How to close the reading achievement gap among K-12 students is an ongoing emphasis for educators in the 21st century. The purpose of the study was to determine if using kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program improved the reading achievement of Grade 3 Hispanic and African American students. Students from four elementary schools participated in the study. The students in the control and experimental groups completed a 2004 release TAKS third grade reading assessment for the pretest and posttest. Students in the experimental group completed five selected kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program five minutes at the beginning of each Monday through Friday school day. The intervention lasted 30 days and a total of 150 minutes. Data were analyzed using a 2 x 2 mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance. Findings revealed that performing the five kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program did not increase students' reading achievement scores. Only the variable of time between pretest and posttest affected students' reading scores. The results from this study did not support the findings of other studies of the effectiveness of kinesthetic movements.
The Effects of a Therapeutic Play Intervention on Hispanic Students' Reading Achievement, Self-concept, and Behavior
This study employed a pretest/posttest control group design to investigate the achievement of second grade Hispanic students from a predominantly low socio-economic school in a large metropolitan city. The thirty Hispanic students with the lowest scores on the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test were randomly assigned to the experimental group (n =15) or the control group (n=15). The treatment consisted of 16, 30-minute sessions of play intervention--2 times per week for 8 weeks. The providers of play therapy were school personnel trained in the principles of child-centered play therapy including tracking, reflecting feelings, and setting limits. Instruments were administered to all subjects prior to the 8 week treatment period and in the two-week period following treatment and included the GMRT, the Joseph Pre-School Primary Self-Concept Test (JPPSCST) and the Child Behavior Checklist Teacher Report Form (CBCTRF). Statistical analyses included a (t-test; 2 tail; p > .05), discriminant analysis, and cross validation. The results indicated that children who received play therapy did not achieve notably higher mean scores in reading. However, play therapy did improve the experimental group's self-concept scores and their internal behavior scores, though not significantly. All differences between the experimental and the control groups were within 1 point except the JPPSCST self-concept mean scores were 1.53 in favor of the experimental group. The CBCTRF Internal behavior mean scores were 1.20 in favor of the experimental group indicating a positive trend. The CBCTRF External behavior scores were 2.74 in favor of the control group. None of the differences was statistically significant and the 4 null hypotheses were accepted. The sample size (N =30) suggests the need to exercise caution in interpreting these findings.Further research utilizing a longer time period between pretesting and posttesting is recommended and may provide more definite information regarding the impact of play therapy on children's reading, self-concept, and internal and external behavioral characteristics.
Effects of Background Music on Preschoolers' Attention.
Background music is often used in preschool classrooms with the belief that music makes children smarter and increases attention. The purpose of this study was to determine if background music increased children's focused attention during play activities. Focused attention occurs when children maintain attention to a task regardless of distractions. This quasiexperimental study investigated background music and play in a laboratory setting. I videotaped individual children during play with math manipulatives in a pretest-posttest research design with background music used as the treatment. Forty-three 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds played for 15 minutes. The first 5 minutes of play had no music (pretest), the second 5-minute play episode had background music (treatment), and the final 5-minute play episode had no background music (posttest). Data were analyzed using one-way repeated measures analysis of variance. Findings revealed that the subjects paid less attention to the play task with background music than they did during the pretest, with no music. Another key finding was that children with more musical experiences at home, as reported by the Child's Home Musical Experience Survey (CHIMES), exhibited longer periods of focused attention with background music. This study confirmed previous research that 3-year-old children have shorter focused attention than 4- and 5-year-old children with and without background music. These findings have implications for teachers and parents that background music, instead of increasing attention in children, might indeed decrease children's focused attention during play activities.
Effects of English and Bilingual Storybook Reading and Reenactment on the Retelling Abilities of Preschool Children
The purpose of this study was to investigate the story retelling abilities of preschool children who have experienced storybook reading and storybook reenactment bilingually, in English and Spanish, and preschool children who have experienced storybook reading and storybook reenactment in English only. This is a clinical case study employing both quantitative and qualitative measures comparing four treatment groups. Three evaluation instruments were developed by the researcher and used for posttesting; a story comprehension test, a story retelling guidesheet/scoresheet, and a storybook literacy response evaluation. In addition, participant observation and teacher interviews were used to gather qualitative data regarding learning center extensions of the target text and teacher beliefs and practices about the use of storybooks. The findings from this study show that scores for children who experienced storybook reading and storybook reenactment were significantly better on both the story retelling and story comprehension measures. In addition, a larger proportion of children who experienced storybook reading and reenactment were found to perform at the second level of literacy response on the Levels of Literacy evaluation. No differences were found in relationship to the language used on any of the dependent measures. Findings fromqualitative data showed that children were involved in limited extensions of the storybook read to them regardless of whether they experienced storybook reenactment or discussion. Teacher beliefs and practices related to their role during learning center play was believed to have some influence on children's choices regarding story extensions or dramatic play theme content. Recommendations were made to pre-school teachers that story reenactment was an effective technique with both bilingual and monolingual presentation. Additional research questions were posed also.
The Efficacy of the Chickasaw Nation Early Care and Education Programs
The purposes of this research were to explore the effectiveness of the Chickasaw Nation early care and education program in promoting school readiness while infusing tribally relevant values in children from birth through age five; engaging parents in all aspects of their children’s learning; and supporting children and families through the transitioning to kindergarten. The study used qualitative methods to examine the experiences and perceptions of ten parents, ten teachers, and five administrators within Chickasaw Nation’s early care and education system regarding the four basic areas of school readiness, parent engagement, transition, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Four primary themes emerged from the semi-structured interviews: 1) socialization, school readiness, and transition, 2) learning, curriculum, and assessment, 3) the role of parents, and 4) cultural integrity. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, transcribed, and analyzed based on four research questions. Findings indicated parents, teachers, and administrators were satisfied that the program was successful with assisting children in making progress toward achieving developmental and school readiness goals and that the children were physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively prepared to enter kindergarten. The program provided activities to encourage and promote parental involvement; however, parents did not indicate active involvement or participation in the activities. There was little evidence to support culturally relevant pedagogy alignment with curriculum and practices. Implications for additional research focusing on American Indian children in preschool programs and the importance of instilling pride and culture are recommended.
Exploring Team Performance as an Independent Variable: Can Performance Predict Resource Allocation?
Encouraging positive work team growth depends on, in part, the form and availability of organizational resources and support. Support systems have been found to be important for work team health and survival. However, managers are challenged to make resource decisions while working within company budgetary restraints. Previous research has indicated a positive relationship exists between teams provided with appropriate resources and support, and increased team performance. This study extended previous research by exploring if team performance can predict resources and support. Specifically, the means by which managers allocate resources based on team performance was examined. Archival data included 36 work teams and their managers drawn from four geographically dispersed manufacturing companies. Information gathered from a modified version of an original team support system instrument was used to assess the importance and presence of four resource systems. Additionally, a gap score was calculated from these scores to assess the alignment between resource need and resource existence. Data was used to assess the potential relationships between managers' perceptions of team performance and the manner by which resources are allocated. All hypotheses produced non-significant findings. Results of the hypotheses, data patterns, and limitations of the study are discussed, and opportunities for future research are presented.
Gottshall Early Reading Intervention: A phonics based approach to enhance the achievement of low performing, rural, first grade boys.
Learning to read is critical for quality of life and success in our society. Children who cannot read well face unsuccessful educational careers and limited job choices. Recently, policy makers and educators have made progress toward increasing the reading achievement of America's children. Still up to 60% of boys who live in poverty cannot read or read two years below grade level. In this experimental study, I designed and examined the effects of the Gottshall Early Reading Intervention (GERI) to determine if direct instruction with a small group, phonics based approach would increase the literacy achievement of low performing, rural, first grade boys. Participants were selected according to Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) scores, matched them across race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, and randomly assigned them to experimental/control group. Three times per week for 15 weeks, boys in the experimental group attended 30-minute pullout sessions taught by trained professionals in addition to classroom reading instruction. Control group members received classroom reading instruction only. Findings reveal no significant differences in reading gains across all variables. However, descriptive data indicate higher percentages of gains for the experimental group on four out of five reading components with rate of gain higher on fifth. Statistics also show that Hispanics are more likely to benefit.
Growing in Favor with God: Young Children's Spiritual Development and Implications for Christian Education
Experts do not agree on the definition of spiritual development although positive spiritual development benefits society in many ways. Without agreement on the definition of spiritual development and a common understanding of spiritual development, parents, teachers, and pastors who are entrusted with the task of fostering positive spiritual development in Christian settings face the challenges of determining what spiritual development is (definition), the desired goals (culmination) of spiritual development, and the most effective ways to meet those goals (context and content). The purpose of this study was to use data, from the social sciences and Christian points of view, to inform Christian education programs and arrive at recommendations for fostering young children's spiritual development. Data sources include textual literature from the social science and Christian points of view. In addition, the researcher gathered interview data from twenty children's pastors. Research results included: 1. It is possible that spirituality is associated with sensory awareness. 2. Examining spirituality as sensory awareness may lead to focusing on innate qualities of spiritual capacity with a more focused inclusion of children with special needs in faith-based programs, a God-given conscience, and consideration that children may be born with spiritual gifts to express their spiritual nature. 3. Congregations/parishes under utilize intergenerational activities, time for quiet and reflection, and opportunities to talk to children about spiritual matters.
Home Literacy Portfolios: Tools for Sharing Literacy Information and for Assessing Parents' Awareness of and Involvement in their Prekindergarten Child's Literacy Development
This qualitative study investigated parents' awareness of and involvement in their prekindergarten child's literacy development. In addition, the feasibility of parents using a home literacy portfolio for the purpose of exchanging literacy information with teachers at a parent/teacher conference was examined. Participants included six parent/child dyads, who qualified for a Texas public school prekindergarten program by meeting the requirements for either free or reduced lunches or for the English-as-a-Second Language program. Research tools included audiotaped interviews with parents and with teachers; observations at parent/child workshop sessions, which were also videotaped; and work samples, including a home literacy portfolio from each child. Findings indicate that parents are involved in their children's literacy development. Also, at home, children participate in both open-ended literacy activities and drill-oriented literacy activities, with most of the activities falling into the open-ended category. According to the findings, all of the parents were more aware of their child's literacy achievements after attending the parent/child workshop and developing a home literacy portfolio. In addition, the home literacy portfolio proved to be a useful tool for sharing information at parent/teacher conferences. Parents and teachers exchanged literacy information at the parent/teacher conference. In the process of explaining the portfolios, the parents shared information about their child's drawing development, writing development, and reading development. In contrast, the teachers shared some literacy information with the parents, but much of the information teachers shared reflected the child's participation in class or general information about the child. The findings suggest that the parent/child workshop is a cost-effective vehicle for directly involving parents in their child's education. Moreover, developing a home literacy portfolio provides a means of involving parents with their child and of helping parents' become more aware of their child's literacy development.
Home Literacy Practices in Diverse Families: Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Children's Literacy Development
Although prior research has shown that parental involvement positively affects a child's literacy development, attention should also be directed to the factors that keep parents from being involved in their children's education. The study reported in this dissertation examined five factors: socioeconomic status, level of education, employment, culture, and language that may be influential in parental assistance of their children's literacy development in the home. The data sources for this investigation included interview responses and a demographic survey. Data from 17 parents, each from a different household, and each with a child in kindergarten were obtained and used for the study. For analyses of these data, content analysis was used to identify similar themes among the interview responses and the demographic survey. Results indicated the following: (1) the time parents spent assisting their child with literacy activities was affected by long work hours, (2) parents with a yearly income of $25,000 or less were unable to provide additional literacy materials for their children, (3) lack of multicultural literature caused culturally diverse parents to feel devalued, and (4) parents who did not speak English fluently lacked the strategies to assist their children in completing English literacy homework. The findings suggest there are significant factors in the home environment that impact the quality and amount of literacy activities that parents provide for their children. In order for teachers to support parents in providing for their children's literacy development, they need to be aware of these factors. In addition, teachers should be culturally sensitive by including multicultural literature in the curriculum.
Incarcerated mothers in Cuenca, Ecuador: Perceptions of their environment and the impact it has on the lives of their young children and their education.
The number of children whose mothers are incarcerated is increasing around the world. Educators of young children are faced with new challenges in their classrooms as they work with these children during their formative years for social-emotional development. The purpose of this qualitative study was to interview the mothers, in order to gain their perspective on how they feel their incarceration has affected their relationship with their children; how they believed it would affect their children in the future, and to investigate the perceptions of early childhood teachers who worked with children of incarcerated mothers. Using interviews, observations, journal, and field notes the researcher collected information from 3 incarcerated mothers, 3 of their children, and the 2 teachers who worked with these children. Overall findings were that the mother-child relationships are of extreme importance to the mothers. They have high hopes for a better life for their child, which includes concerns about their education. Mothers had fears that their incarceration would repeat itself in their children and desired for things to be different in their children's futures. They reported their incarceration affecting their children in negative ways. Their children had difficulty depicting their mothers in their drawings. Lastly, the teachers highly encouraged parental involvement, even though the mother was incarcerated. They expressed the importance of the mother-child relationship impacting the child's ability to learn, and teachers believed special training and preparation are necessary for working with these children.
An Investigation into the Effects of Long-term Staff Development on Teacher Perceptions and Reading Achievement on Young Children
The effectiveness of long-term staff development (Reading Academy Project-RAP) on students' reading scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test was examined to determine if teachers transferred newly learned teaching strategies into practice and changed their beliefs about reading instruction. In a four-year cohort longitudinal study in an East Texas rural community, the effects of long-term staff development on third grade students' TAAS test reading scores, teacher practices, and teacher beliefs were explored. Populations included a teacher group (N = 17), an experimental (N = 419), and a control (N = 419) group of students. Children's groups were matched pairs based on five demographic characteristics and membership or non-membership in one or more of six categories. An application survey and four end-of-the-year surveys provided teacher data regarding classroom practices. One interview question provided information about teacher beliefs. Results indicate students who had a RAP teacher for at least one year scored significantly higher on the TAAS reading test in the third grade than those without a RAP teacher. Examination of students having more than one year with an academy teacher failed to produce statistically significant differences in TAAS test reading scores; however, an upward trend was noted. Statistically significant differences were found in 6 of the 20 items on the survey investigating classroom practices. All teachers reported the RAP affected them positively, and 82% confirmed that changes took place in their classroom practices, student behaviors, and teacher responsibilities. Validation of or strengthening existing beliefs accounted for 76% of the teacher responses. Recommendations include adding a population of kindergarten through third graders and following them through high school to determine ultimate reading success, continue surveying teachers to see if effective strategies persist, add a parental involvement component, and replicate this investigation in suburban and metropolitan areas.
Kindergarten Teacher Competencies Ranked by Kindergarten Teachers and Kindergarten Teacher Trainers
This study is concerned with the problem of determining the competencies which inservice kindergarten teachers and kindergarten-teacher trainers consider most important for teaching kindergarten. There are four purposes of the study: to identify specific competencies needed to teach kindergarten, to determine the teacher competencies considered most important by kindergarten teachers, to determine teacher competencies considered most important by teacher trainers, and to compare the rankings of teacher competencies by kindergarten teachers and kindergarten-teacher trainers.
Language Behaviors and Social Strategies of English as Second Language and English as Primary Language Preschool Children During Computer Assisted Instruction Experiences
This study describes the language behaviors and social strategies of English as Second Language (ESL) and English as Primary Language (EPL) pre-kindergarten students during cooperative Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) experiences. Thirty-three pre-kindergarten subjects ages four to five years, were videotaped at two personal computers during self-selected center time. The sources of data for this descriptive study were a parent computer survey, videotapes, a subject interview derived from the Young Children's Computer Inventory, and written records.
Mass media in the writing process of English as a second language kindergarteners: A case study examination
Mass media such as television, video players, video games, compact disks, and the computers are commonplace in current American culture. For English as a Second Language children, television may be the only source of English in the home serving as models of grammar, syntax, story structure. An investigation was made using English as a Second Language (ESL) kindergarteners, the classroom writing center, participant-observation, teacher as researcher, and case study methodology to investigate the following questions: Do ESL kindergarten children use media in their writing? If so, how do they use media in their writing? Upon examination of the data, it was found that all these ESL children did use media in the writing process. The function and form of the media references varied from child to child. Media was a cultural context for the childrenÕs social interactions. Oral language (with and without media references) not only informed the writing for some, but also served: to initiate, participate in, and sustain social relationships with peers. Findings indicated that two case study subjects used social dialogue as a separate operation from the production of a written story. Language informed the writing but it also had a socialization function in addition to what the writing needs were. The social aspects of literacy beyond language used to inform the writing is a topic suggested for further research.
Meeting the challenges of diversity: Beliefs of Taiwanese preservice early childhood teachers.
This study examines 797 Taiwanese pre-service early childhood teachers' diversity beliefs using the Personal and Professional Beliefs about Diversity Scales (PPBD). The purposes of this study are to: (a) validate the diversity belief's instrument, (b) investigate the relationship between diversity beliefs in both personal and professional contexts, (c) examine the group differences in diversity beliefs between pre-service teachers based on their demographic background, school characteristics, and cross-cultural experiences, (d) explore the influential determinants of diversity beliefs in the personal and professional contexts, and (f) identify the types of training early childhood pre-service teachers need regarding multicultural education in early childhood. The results indicate that (a) the professional context of PPBD is not robust to use in population outside the U.S. and needed to modify by adding more items based on current diversity literature and the cultural context in Taiwan, (b) school characteristics are the major contributors that foster pre-service teachers' diversity beliefs in both contexts, (c) school location is the most influential factor for the dependent variable of personal beliefs while experience of studying in another city and students' major become the salient factors for the professional beliefs about diversity, (d) the type of educational philosophy is contributing factor of predicting diversity beliefs in both personal and professional contexts. It echoes the multicultural education approaches advocated by Sleeter and Grant (2003), which say that the most important component of multicultural education involves an entire school and touches all areas including students, teachers, staff, and administrators.
Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting Characteristics in Relation to Family Earner Status and Self-perceived Interpersonal Competence
With an increasing number of married mothers who participated in paid work roles, fathers with full-time employed spouses now are expected to assume the role of caregiver and have higher frequency of engagement in parenting practices. This study of 235 university students from dual-earner and single-earner families investigated their retrospective perceptions of both mothers' and fathers' frequency of engagement in overall and specific parenting behaviors. These perceptions were measured by the Parent Behavior Frequency Questionnaire-Revised Scale, which includes seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. Paired samples t-tests suggested that married mothers, whether fully employed outside the home or not, engaged more frequently, than their full-time employed spouses, in parenting characteristics related to bonding, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity, and sensitivity. However, mothers' employment status had little influence upon the frequency at which either parent engaged in any of the seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. University students who perceived that both parents were more frequently engaged in specific parenting behaviors related to education, responsivity and sensitivity rated themselves higher on interpersonal competence, as measured by the Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire-Revised Scale. Students who perceived that both parents were less frequently engaged in negative parenting behaviors rated themselves higher on competence in conflict management. In addition, family earner status had no significant impact on university students' levels of interpersonal competence. Although there was no significant gender difference in the levels of total interpersonal competence, male students reported higher levels of interpersonal competence in the domains of asserting influence and conflict management than their female counterparts. These findings revealed that like parents from single-earner families, parents from dual-earner families also demonstrated a significant discrepancy in the frequency of engagement in parenting practices. Mothers still invested considerably more time with their children than do fathers. Therefore, there may be a need to develop parent education programs for fathers so that they have opportunities to shape paternal identity and parental self-efficacy. Also, it is necessary to develop friendly family- employment policies and enhance social support networks that enable both full-time employed mothers and fathers to achieve a satisfactory balance between family and work.
Mothers' Perceptions and Preschoolers' Experiences: Cultural Perspectives of Early Childhood Education
In this qualitative investigation, the ways in which four ethnically diverse mothers' perceptions of early childhood education combined with the school experiences of their children were examined. Research tools included audiotaped interviews with Mexican-American, Korean-American, African-American, and Anglo mothers; videotaped school experiences; and a video message with a viewing guide requesting written reaction.
Multiple Measures of the Effectiveness of Public School Montessori Education in the Third Grade
The problem of this study was to measure the effectiveness of a public school Montessori program. The purpose of this study was to measure and compare student academic achievement and self-concept, attendance and promotion rates, and level of parental involvement in the schools of students enrolled in public school Montessori and traditional programs. The 95 subjects in this study were third-grade subjects selected from the student populations in Montessori and traditional school sites. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) was used as the pre-test scores, and the Norm-referenced Assessment Program for Texas (NAPT) was used as the post-test scores to compare academic achievement in reading and mathematics. Multiple regression was used to compare the levels of academic achievement and self-concept. Multiple regression was also used to test for possible relationship between the Montessori and traditional programs and gender and ethnicity.
Parent, Student, and Faculty Satisfaction With and Support of Campus Laboratory School Programs
The primary purpose of the study was to investigate stakeholders' opinions concerning campus laboratory school program quality in three areas: (1) quality of teacher education, (2) research, and (3) childcare. There were 653 participants in the study: 246 parents whose children were enrolled in laboratory schools, 200 pre-service students who were taking early childhood or child development classes, and 207 faculty who were associated with campus laboratory schools. The study participants came from 122 campus children centers in the United States. These campus centers were members of either the National Coalition for Campus Children's Centers (NCCCC) or the National Organization of Laboratory Schools (NOLS). The first three research questions investigated whether parents, students, and faculty were satisfied with program quality. A one-way analysis of variance indicated a statistically significant mean difference between the three groups. The parents had a higher mean level of program quality satisfaction than students and faculty. The last three research questions investigated whether parents, students, and faculty supported the ongoing existence of campus laboratory school programs. Opinions were scaled from 1=not ever to 5=definitely. The overall mean ratings for Parents (4.54), students (4.18), and faculty (4.07) indicated that they supported the ongoing existence of campus laboratory programs. Future research should investigate cross-cultural issues related to campus laboratory school programs. It would also be important to study the effectiveness of Pell Grants that could provide funding of campus laboratory schools for a diverse group of children. A study could also be conducted that would explore differences in campus laboratory school programs and determine whether they respond differently to childcare demands.
Parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs in Taiwan.
Western educational policies and practices have impacted Taiwanese early childhood programs. The concept of developmentally appropriate practice has become part of the educational program for young children in Taiwan. This research study was completed to: (a) describe Taiwanese parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) in early childhood programs; (b) examine group differences between fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP; (c) investigate group differences between parents of different socioeconomic statuses beliefs about DAP; (d) explore group differences between parents' beliefs about DAP when their children attend different types of schools (public and private); and (e) identify salient factors related to the variability of developmentally appropriate beliefs of Taiwanese parents. Three hundred seventy-nine matched Taiwanese parent pairs (mothers and fathers) participated in this survey research study. All parents had at least one child between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Four hundred forty-eight children attended public schools, and 415 attended private schools. The Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire was modified and used to collect data in this study. Findings showed: (a) fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP are significantly correlated; (b) fathers' and mothers' socioeconomic statuses are significantly correlated with their developmentally inappropriate practice beliefs; and (c) parents' socioeconomic status was a significant predictor of their DAP belief scores and family, culture, and inclusion belief scores. Future studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire with Taiwanese parents. Including parent's age, child's gender, child's birth order, residential region, and number of children as variables in future research studies may explain variations in parents' DAP beliefs. Employing qualitative methods, such as classroom observations, case studies, and interviews may be used to verify these findings. The Taiwanese Ministries of Education and Interior may find this study's results useful in creating policies and best practices related to the education of young children. Teachers may use these results to guide their work with parents.
Patterns of verbal communication in children with special needs.
The social interactions between children with special needs, learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorder (ADHD), were investigated. The children were observed in groups of three/four while creating a cooperative art project. During this activity, their interactions were recorded and coded for patterns of verbal communication. Verbal communication was evaluated through statements reflecting requests for information and materials; helping/cooperation/giving; consideration/positive reinforcement; competitiveness; intrusiveness; rejection; self-image; neutral statements; and persuasiveness. Results indicated that children with special needs tended to engage in a greater frequency of helping/cooperative/giving statements as opposed to any other verbal statements. Specifically, positive statements as opposed to negative statements classified their verbal interactions. These children also appeared to demonstrate more internalizing behaviors than externalizing behaviors. The influence of children's behaviors on children's verbal statements was examined. Results indicated that children who evidenced a disability in reading or language appeared to engage in a greater frequency of cooperative or helping statements than their non-disabled peers. Intrusive tendencies may be associated with the following: presence of a reading disability, absence of ADHD, and absence of a disability in written expression. Additionally, the conversations of children with a disability in mixed receptive language tended to evidence a greater frequency of neutral statements when compared to their peers without a disability. Externalizing behaviors also appeared to be associated with increased use of considerate and encouraging statements. Findings also suggested that intellectual ability may be related to children's verbalizations, but unrelated to children's behaviors. Intellectual functioning appeared to be directly related to children's use of rejecting statements. Upon comparing these findings to previous literature on the social communication between children with and without special needs, it is unclear whether children with special needs evidence a shared communicative culture or ability to interpret communication patterns, which results in more positive communicative interactions. This study has implications for appropriate educational placement, the formation of children's friendships, and the social communication of children with special needs.
Prek-6 Teachers' Beliefs About Inclusive Practices in the United States and South Korea: Cross Cultural Perspectives
The educational practice known as inclusion, which is based on values of equal opportunity and diversity, enables students with disabilities to attend the same general education classes as typically developing peers. Inclusion is a legal requirement in the United States and South Korea, but factors facilitating inclusion likely differ across countries. The purpose of the study was to examine PreK-6 school teachers' beliefs about inclusive practices in the United States and South Korea and to present a more informed direction for the future of inclusive education in both countries. Seventy-four teachers from the US and 54 from South Korea participated via email for this study employing surveys. Teachers provided their beliefs about inclusion items on the My Thinking About Inclusion (MTAI) scale, a 28-question instrument, and also provided information about their own gender, years of experience, education level, and teaching practices. A statistically significant difference was found between the teachers of the two nations for the full survey scale. The teachers' training area (i.e., general education or special education) in the US was significantly associated with the belief toward inclusion, and special education teachers in both countries were more agreeable to inclusion than general education practitioners were as shown by the MTAI scale. A strong relationship between accommodation and preparedness for disabilities was found. Most of the barrier factors to practicing inclusive education were considered substantial obstacles, but more so for South Korea teachers than US teachers. University coursework was the least preferred method for improving inclusive practices according to teachers in both countries. Based on the outcomes of the two nations' teachers' beliefs about inclusion, the author suggests that supportive practices, including collaboration between educators, professional development, partnerships with parents and families, and peer supports, be implemented within the two countries for the upkeep of inclusive practices.
Preschool Teachers’ Constructions of Early Reading
Much of the current discourse surrounding the practice of early reading has emerged from policies that dictate the definition and means by which reading is taught and by which reading success is measured. Although this discourse directly influences the work of preschool teachers, little is known about what preschool teachers think about early reading and how they develop these understandings or constructions. Research concerning preschool teachers’ constructions is useful because of the potential influence on teachers' decisions and classroom behaviors. The purpose of this study is to better understand preschool teachers’ constructions concerning early reading and the process of learning to read. Six preschool teachers, with a variety of personal, educational, and professional experiences, from four diverse early childhood programs in the North Texas area were interviewed over a nine-month period during which each participant was interviewed for approximately three hours. Through systematic, inductive analysis, three themes were identified under an overarching theme of the interdependent and relational nature of early reading influences: out-of-school interactions, in-school interactions, and interactions with text. Without exception, these teachers referred to their life experiences as influencing their approach to teaching in general and to teaching reading in particular. The goals these preschool teachers had for their students and their instructional decisions were indications of their unique and evolving constructions of early reading and are absolutely grounded in their practice – in their life experiences and in their daily interactions with children. This study suggests that stakeholders should remember that these practical experiences are a primary influence on how preschool teachers think about early reading and the process of learning to read.
Preschool Teachers’ Knowledge of Children’s Mathematical Development and Beliefs About Teaching Mathematics
Early childhood education emphasizes the need of providing high quality early childhood mathematics programs for preschool children. However, there is little research that examines the importance of preschool children’s mathematical knowledge development and teachers’ beliefs about how to teach mathematics to young children. The purposes of this study were to investigate pre-service and in-service preschool teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development and their beliefs about teaching mathematics in the preschool classroom and also to determine how experience differentiates the two groups. This research employed a non-experimental research design with convenient sampling. Ninety-eight pre-service teachers and seventy-seven in-service preschool teachers participated in the research. The Knowledge of Mathematical Development survey (KMD) and the Beliefs survey were used to investigate possible differences between pre-service and in-service preschool teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development and between their beliefs about teaching mathematics. The findings of this study indicate a statistically significant difference between pre-service teachers and in-service preschool teachers in relation to their knowledge of mathematical development. This finding shows that pre-service teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development is somewhat limited; most pre-service teachers have difficulty identifying the process of preschool children’s development of mathematics skills. A second finding reveals a statistically significant difference between pre-service teachers and in-service preschool teachers in relation to their beliefs about (a) age-appropriateness of mathematics instruction in the early childhood classroom, (b) social and emotional versus mathematical development as a primary goal of the preschool curriculum, and (c) teacher comfort with mathematics instruction. No statistically significant difference was found between pre-service teachers’ and in-service preschool teachers’ beliefs regarding the locus of generation of mathematical knowledge. Both groups believe it is the teacher’s responsibility to intentionally teach mathematics to young children. This result suggests that both pre-service and in-service preschool teachers believe that teachers should play a central role in the teaching of mathematics to preschool children. However, both groups would need appropriate education and training to learn how to teach mathematics to young children. Pre-service and in-service preschool teachers’ varying levels of experiences and different levels of education may help explain why there is a significant difference between their knowledge of mathematical development and beliefs about teaching mathematics.
The Relationship of Developmentally Appropriate Beliefs and Practices of Greek Kindergarten Teachers
Sixty Greek kindergarten teachers were surveyed regarding their teaching beliefs and practices using the Teachers Questionnaire based on guidelines recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A Varimax factor analysis produced four factors for the Teacher Belief Scale and five factors for the Instructional Activities Scale. Scores on developmentally appropriate factors were consistently higher than factors classified developmentally inappropriate. Correlation between appropriate beliefs and activities was significant (r = .470); correlation between inappropriate beliefs and practices was significant (r = .475). However, developmentally inappropriate beliefs were also positively correlated with developmentally appropriate practices (r = .537). Developmentally appropriate beliefs were not correlated with inappropriate practices. Results were discussed with possible theoretical and practical implications for future research and teacher development.
The Relationship of Parent Involvement in Head Start to Family Characteristics, Parent Behaviors and Attitudes, and Preschool Inventory Scores
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between family characteristics and parent involvement in Head Start, and the differences between parents who participated in Head Start parent involvement activities and parents who did not participate, as to their behaviors and attitudes concerning education, their children, their communities, and their children's academic achievement. This study analyzed existing data collected for a national parent involvement study. The sample consisted of 2,051 parent-child pairs (1,443 Head Start and 606 non-Head Start). Findings indicated a significant relationship between numerous family characteristics and parent involvement in Head Start, with variables related to a higher level of education of the mother or primary caregiver being the most dominant. Significant differences were found between the parents who participated in Head Start activities and parents who did not participate. The involved parents felt more strongly about teachers needing knowledge of their children's families, parents having knowledge worthy of sharing with their children's teachers, and parents wanting advice or input from their children's teachers. They reported a higher frequency of behaviors such as talking, reading, and playing with their children, trying to teach their children basic concepts, and having materials available for their children's use. Involved parents rated their level of participation, acceptance, and influence in their communities to be greater than did the uninvolved parents. Also, they had higher expectations concerning their children's education. The involved parents and the non-Head Start parents had heard of the resources available in their communities more than the uninvolved Head Start parents had; however, both groups of Head Start parents had used the resources more than the non-Head Start parents had. The children of the involved parents and the non-Head Start parents scored significantly higher on the Preschool Inventory than did the children of the uninvolved Head Start parents.
The Relationships Between Leadership Styles and Personality Types of Texas Elementary Administrators
The purposes of this study were to explore the leadership styles and personality types of Texas elementary administrators. The Leader Effectiveness and Adaptability Description-Self (LEAD-Self) assessed the leadership style and adaptability of the administrators. The four identified styles were Telling/Directing, Selling/Coaching, Participating/Supporting, and Delegating. The MBTI measured 16 combinations of 4 personality types which included Extrovert or Introvert, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving. The sample was 200 Texas elementary administrators: 100 with early childhood certification and 100 without early childhood certification. A chi-square test of independence was utilized. Findings included: (a) A majority of Texas elementary administrators in both groups had a Selling/Coaching or Participating/Supporting leadership style; (b) Leadership adaptability scores of both groups were equivalent; (c) Most Texas elementary administrators had Introvert/Sensing/Thinking/Judging and Extrovert/Sensing/Thinking/Judging personality types; (d) Administrators with early childhood certification had a higher percentage of Intuitive personality types, while administrators without early childhood certification had a predominance of Sensing types; (e) A large percentage of administrators which had Participating/Supporting leadership styles had Feeling personality types; (f) No significant relationship between leadership styles and personality types was found in either group; and (g) No significant relationship between leadership adaptability and personality types was found in either group. Recommendations included: (a) further study to investigate the role of gender in leadership style and personality type; (b) further study to determine if elementary administrators have higher adaptability scores than secondary administrators; (c) further study to determine if elementary administrators have different leadership styles than secondary administrators; (d) further study to determine if elementary administrators have different personality types than secondary administrators; (e) further study to determine if leadership adaptability scores accurately portray an administrator's effectiveness; and (f) provide opportunities for future and practicing administrators to assess their leadership style, leadership adaptability, and personality type.
Revealing what urban early childhood teachers think about mathematics and how they teach it: Implications for practice
Hersh (1986) states, "One's conception of what mathematics is affects one's conception of how it should be presented. One's manner of presenting it is an indication of what one believes to be most essential in it." In this research study, three hundred ninety-seven urban early childhood teachers were given a survey that examined their attitudes toward mathematics and mathematics teaching, their views of mathematics, views of teaching mathematics, and views of children learning mathematics. The purpose of this study was to identify the attitudes and beliefs of early childhood teachers in two urban school districts to determine if mathematics reform efforts made a difference in teachers' attitudes and beliefs about mathematics and its teaching. Questionnaires were mailed directly to teachers in one school district and principals distributed questionnaires in the other. Summary scores were calculated for parts of the instrument. The researcher performed descriptive statistics, comparative analysis, and conducted frequency distributions, t-tests, ANOVA, and Pearson Correlations. Findings revealed that teachers with 30 or more years of teaching experience had more positive attitudes toward mathematics than teachers with 1-3 years of experience. African American teachers had more positive attitudes toward mathematics and its teaching than other ethnic groups. Teachers who held a minor or major in mathematics had more positive attitudes toward mathematics and its teaching than teachers without a minor or major in mathematics. Teachers in District-A favored constructivist learning while teachers in District-B favored rote learning. Both school districts' teachers favored the problem-solving approach to teaching mathematics. If instruction is to be transformed, reformers need to understand teachers' beliefs about mathematics. Beliefs, which are essential for teachers' development, seldom change without significant intervention (Lappan and Theule-Lubienski, 1994). Therefore, school districts must be informed about the changes necessary for the reform of mathematics teaching and identify and implement through staff developments and other measures what they perceive mathematics to be and how it should be taught.
Self-Assessment of Literacy Growth in Young Children
In this study, 78 kindergarten and first-grade children were interviewed about their writing to identify indicators of self-assessment. Writing samples for each participant were saved over a three month period, then compared and discussed by the child. Results indicated that these young children did engage in self:-assessment behaviors. The classroom teachers were asked to place the participants in their classes along a writing continuum known as a Writing Band. Graphs were presented to show the writing levels of the children by classroom. In addition, each classroom was surveyed to document events which promote literacy development within the framework of an integrated curriculum. Writing samples for each child were collected and kept in a portfolio. Participants were interviewed regarding the contents of the portfolio. Children in two of the kindergarten classes were interviewed using 5 samples collected over a 2 1/2 month time period, and all other participants were interviewed using 6 writing samples collected over a 3 month period. Findings indicated that not only did these young children recognize growth in their writing, but they also assessed that growth based on outward, physical features of their writing. The writing ability of each child at the beginning of the study did not appear to affect the child's ability to self-assess writing growth. Children on the first 4 Writing Bands, A, B, C, and D self-assessed using similar criteria. Additional findings suggested that many of these young children knew there was a thought process involved with choosing topics to be written about. The results of this study suggested implications for continued investigations into using self-assessment with young children. For example, it was proposed that varying the learning environment may change the criteria that children use for self-assessment. Further research was recommended that would identify student and teacher behaviors that enhance self-assessment.