Date of Award

8-2009

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Human Development

Advisor

Gary L. Schilmoeller

Second Committee Member

Mary Ellin Logue

Third Committee Member

Susan Bennett-Armistead

Abstract

As parents consider their child's readiness for entry to kindergarten, some are opting to hold their child out of kindergarten one year, an option sometimes referred to as Academic Redshirting. The purpose of this study is to ascertain what skills or attributes parents think children should have obtained before entering kindergarten, and what factors parents consider when deciding when to enroll their children into kindergarten. Parents of forty-four male and thirty-seven female children were involved with the study. Parents voluntarily completed a two page survey, answering questions regarding demographics, family histories, their child's preschool experiences, and questions related to decision making regarding kindergarten entry and what skills children need to enter and be successful in kindergarten. From the 367 surveys distributed, a total of 81 surveys were returned, a 22% return rate. The majority of the families were White, with 62% of mothers and 50% of fathers holding Bachelors, Masters or other professional degrees. The majority of families were two-parent families, with earnings above the state median income. There were ten boys and nine girls considered for delayed entry, although only three boys and two girls were actually delayed entry to kindergarten. The figures for delayed entry are consistent with national figures showing a greater amount of boys than girls delayed entry to kindergarten. As a group, the majority of the children delayed entry and the majority of the children considered for delayed entry had birthdays in late summer/early fall. The top five skills or abilities parents thought children should have acquired prior to entering kindergarten were familiarity with letters (writing name, know the ABC's,); number recognition (count to 10, 20 or 50); social skills and the ability to interact well with others; knowing colors, and handling all bathroom-related issues. The five least issues of concern for parents were the child's size, the child's friends, cost of child care and/or preschool, parents schedule, and advice of adult family & friends. Due to the homogeneity of the sample families, it is difficult to conclude just how much an effect ethnicity, parent education, family income, and prior early childhood educational experiences had on the parent's decision making process on kindergarten entry.

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