preparing high risk urban children and their families for school
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Preparing high-risk urban children and their families for school:. Results of the Pre-K to Kindergarten Follow-up Study. Jacquelyn Vincson, Ph.D. Melissa J. Wilhelm, M.A. Jacqueline Robinson. Purpose of the Study.

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preparing high risk urban children and their families for school

Preparing high-risk urban children and their families for school:

Results of the Pre-K to Kindergarten Follow-up Study

Jacquelyn Vincson, Ph.D.

Melissa J. Wilhelm, M.A.

Jacqueline Robinson

purpose of the study
Purpose of the Study
  • To learn more about the experiences of children and families in a high quality early education program
  • To learn about the transition process for these children from pre-k to elementary school
  • To learn about the academic trajectory for these children
purpose of the study1
Purpose of the Study
  • To improve program services, develop staff trainings, and inform public policy work
  • To learn about parent perceptions of the school readiness of their child for elementary school
  • To assess child outcomes from their Head Start experiences through 3rd grade
objectives
Objectives:

This study pursued several questions regarding elementary school readiness of the children, including:

  • How can program best prepare children and families for the transition to kindergarten?
  • What are the obstacles to success in kindergarten?
  • How can parents be assisted and supported in preparing their children for kindergarten and their early school years?
overview method
Overview: Method
  • Study Design
  • Parent Interviews
  • Teacher Questionnaire
  • School Data collected from schools and academic partner – end of 1st year in kindergarten
method and process
Method and Process
  • Recruiting Parents (financial incentive)
  • Parent Interviewing (‘go to’ model)
  • Teacher Questionnaire (multiple outreach-interviews)
  • School Data (multiple outreach for report cards)
participants
Participants
  • Great Response Rate!
  • One mother refused
  • Some portions of teacher surveys incomplete
what we learned
What We Learned
  • Parents’ Experience with the Program
  • Parent Involvement in their child’s learning
  • Transition Coordination
  • Parents’ experiences with Kindergarten
  • Children’s socialization
  • Children with Special Needs
  • Teacher’s Observations
parents experience with the program
Parents experience with the program
  • Overall, parents report they are grateful to the program and were thankful to have their child attend.
  • However, many parents had concrete suggestions for program development and enhancement.
  • Multiple themes emerged from these suggestions and experiences, that may be used to inform our decision making process…
parents involvement in children s learning
Parents Involvement in Children’s Learning
  • Majority of parents reported being involved in their child’s learning.
  • Overall, parents report they are reading to their children, helping with homework, and are interested in their child’s learning.
parents involvement in children s learning1
Parents involvement in children’s learning
  • The program gave parents the message that they are their child’s 1st teacher
    • Parent Quote:

“I learned how to teach my child with things I have at home. So you can self-love through hands on experience. I now know we don’t need expensive toys. We can learn letters from cereal boxes or riding past signs on the street.”

parent involvement in children s learning
Parent Involvement in Children’s Learning
  • Majority of parents convey the positive impact their role may have on their child’s learning
    • They want the very best for their children
    • Many report feeling pressured by this responsibility.
parent involvement in children s learning1
Parent Involvement in Children’s Learning
  • These parents communicate concern for their lack of resources, identifying the many challenges and obstacles they face on a daily basis.
    • Time
    • Basic Needs
  • Overall, parents report they are aware of their challenges and are doing the best they can with what they have.
parent involvement in children s learning2
Parent Involvement in Children’s Learning
  • Many parents beat themselves up for inability to make ‘it all work’
  • Struggle between making dinner and reading a book.
    • Parent quote:

“all of these learning ideas are really good, but what I really need is this…”

    • Concrete suggestions for implementing best practices
transition to kindergarten
Transition to Kindergarten
  • Parents appear to be confused about kindergarten options.
  • Most report they were either unaware of classroom alternatives,
    • or did not have a choice due to circumstances such as financial or transportation issues.
transition issues
Transition Issues
  • Parents report they are experiencing a high amount life stressors.
  • The amount of life stressors limits their options and makes it necessary that their child attends a school close to home.
transition issues1
Transition Issues
  • Some of our children’s parents have disabilities of their own.
  • These parents report feeling pressure to make the right decisions for their child-
    • but up against multiple obstacles and challenges.
parent experience with kindergarten
Parent Experience with Kindergarten
  • Parents have suggestions on how to prepare for the kindergarten experience:

Parent Quote:

    • …“take the children to play kindergarten for a couple of hours in a special room. Say this is what you do there, you don’t take naps, you raise your hand, you have to sit still, & play homework- play kindergarten so they get it”
parent experiences with kindergarten
Parent Experiences with Kindergarten
  • For children who have older siblings in the home, the transition to kindergarten was much less complicated or stressful for the parent.

Parent quote:

    • “I was prepared because I had another one that went already. You know it was her that needed to be ready”
parent experiences with kindergarten1
ParentExperiences with Kindergarten
  • As parents visit schools they report their children need to know more then ‘how to play’. 

Parent quote:

    • “I think they need to have more structure, learning to play is good, but when he went to kindergarten, he had to do spelling, basic arithmetic, and multiplication, he was basically on his own.” 
children s socialization
Children’s Socialization
  • Most parents report their child has made friends at school, but their child doesn’t socialize with these children outside of the classroom.
children s socialization1
Children’s Socialization
  • Further, most of children’s social interactions are with children in the neighborhood or relatives, again pointing to parents being restricted to activities and that are close to their homes.
teacher surveys parent participation
Teacher Surveys: Parent Participation
  • 96% of parents picked up report cards
  • Teacher reports reflect parent reports
  • Parents report they would like to be involved with activities in their child’s school.
  • Parents identify work as being the primary reason they are unable to participate in school activities
teacher surveys attendance
Teacher Surveys: Attendance
  • 66% of all children missed 7 days or less across the school year
  • Most parents attributed child’s absence from school to illness
  • Many parents specifically identified asthma as a cause
teacher surveys
Teacher Surveys
  • 26% of OPF children’s readiness for kindergarten was below average or poor.
  • Almost half were viewed as being in line with their peers
  • 28% were believed to be above average or excellent
teacher surveys1
Teacher Surveys
  • 0 children were recommended for retention*
  • 26% of OPF children’s readiness for 1st grade was viewed as below average or poor.
  • 40% were viewed as being in line with their peers
  • Almost half were believed to be above average or excellent
teacher surveys literacy
Teacher Surveys: Literacy
  • Literacy Skills at the Beginning of the Year:
  • 40% of program children were described as poor or below average in Literacy skills.
  • 61% of program children were described as possessing skills that were average or above.
teacher surveys3
Teacher Surveys

At the Beginning of the Year:

  • 40% of children hadLiteracy skills described as poor or below average. 61% of children had Literacy skills that were average or above.
  • 38% of children had Math Skills described as poor or below average. 66% of children had Math skills described as average or above.
  • 33% of children had social emotional skills described as that were poor or below average. 71% of children had Social Emotional skills described as average or above.
  • In each domain more than 60% displayed skills as average or above
teacher surveys4
Teacher Surveys

At the end of the Year:

  • 10% of OPF children had Literacy skills described as poor or below average. 45% had Literacy skills described as average. And 46% had skills described as ABOVE AVERAGE OR EXCELLENT.
  • 13% of OPF children had Math skills described as poor or below average. 43% of OPF children had Math skills described as average. And 45% had skills described as ABOVE AVERAGE OR EXELLENT.
  • 13% of OPF children had social emotional skills described as poor or below average. 35% of OPF children had Social Emotional skills described. And 53% had skills describes as ABOVE AVERAGE OR EXCELLENT.
teacher surveys5
Teacher Surveys
  • As a group, kindergarten teachers reported those children who began the school year with skill levels below their peers, were equipped with strategies that allowed them to ‘catch up’ or ‘move beyond’ their peers by the end of the kindergarten year.
special needs
Special Needs
  • Only 2 of 33 children were Identified as having a ‘special need & a formal plan’ by Kindergarten Teachers
  • 4 teachers reported they “did not know if the child had a special need formal plan”.
  • 7 Teachers did not respond to the question
  • 12 of the 50 (recruited) children were identified as having special needs (and a formal plan) while enrolled
schools attended
Schools Attended
  • The 40 children transitioning from program transitioned into total of 29 schools.
  • Of these 29 schools 13 (45%) were on an academic Watch List (indicating lower quality)
schools attended1
Schools Attended
  • 9 of the children who transitioned from the program, attended a school with a child from their cohort.
  • Overall, 21 childrenwho transitioned went to a school listed on the Academic Watch List.
implications parent involvement
Implications: Parent Involvement
  • The Program has helped to provide concrete examples that assist parents in helping to encourage their children’s learning at home.
  • Consistently conveying the message that expensive toys or materials are not necessary is powerful for parents.
  • How can we expand these powerful messages further to assist parents?
implications parent involvement1
Implications: Parent Involvement
  • How often do we ask about parents about resources they have?
  • How often do we ask parents about resources they need?
implications transition coordination
Implications: Transition Coordination
  • What are the alternatives to issues associated with transportation to school?
  • How can we ensure parents receive the materials and information they need to understand the transition process?
    • (Expanded Parent Transition Coordinators role)
implications transition coordination1
Implications: Transition Coordination
  • What resources can we provide to help parents identify & alleviate stressors?
  • How can we increase networks & partnerships in the community to assist parents?
implications transition
Implications: Transition
  • We know one of the greatest mediating factors that points to a child’s academic success is the quality of the school they transition.
  • How can we ensure our children transition to quality schools after leaving our program?
    • Empower parents to seek HIGH QUALITY programs
implications parent s experiences with kindergarten
Implications: Parent’s Experiences with Kindergarten

Questions to Consider

  • What must be in place for a parent to feel comfortable initiating communication with school and their child’s teacher?
  • What is needed to increase partnerships with elementary schools that will match children’s learning needs?
implications parent s experiences with kindergarten1
Implications: Parent’s Experiences with Kindergarten
  • What is needed to provide parents with the concrete information to become aware & involved with children’s transition to kindergarten?
data analysis
Data Analysis
  • Regarding Kindergarten data:
    • There is not 1 uniform reporting tool for kindergarten outcomes.
    • This has limited our ability to provide an overall view of children’s progress through a universal measure.
next steps
Next Steps
  • Obtain school data from database housed at our university partner
  • Link children’s outcomes to their elementary academic performance across 3 years
  • Identify trends in children’s outcomes to develop interventions that will support children’s learning in pre-k and extend through elementary school
  • Develop “triage” systems

(cognitive and social-emotional) that will support intervention models

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