Date of Award

5-11-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Jennifer Lesh

Second Advisor

Richard Jones

Third Advisor

Kristin Shealy

Abstract

The United States is in the bottom quartile of formally enrolled preschoolers in the developed countries. Not every student receives an equitable preschool experience and as a result, kindergarten classrooms contain a wide range of learners. One way to offset the transition time would be to transform enrollment procedures. How schools utilize the data contained on kindergarten enrollment registrations in the spring could help level the playing field for at risk students. Handing a parent a list of ways to get ready for kindergarten is not enough. One method is through the use of behavior economics and technology. This research is important because it could prove that weekly “nudges” or tips on what to expect in kindergarten can increase success in the fall. Our current understanding of the role family engagement plays in the year prior to kindergarten is limited. To support such an intervention, a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to investigate the perceptions of teachers and parents of preschoolers in kindergarten readiness. Qualitative results revealed parents believe socialization is the more important factor of preschool and have little knowledge of Common Core while teachers believe an academic foundation is key. Quantitative data show parents do not have enough time to prepare children for kindergarten yet rate themselves high in their ability to do so. Parents also claim to have little knowledge of the kindergarten curriculum and want local school districts to do more in reaching out to families the year prior to school entry. In addition, the researchers examined technology habits of parents to determine receptivity in receiving supports for their children prior to kindergarten enrollment in the form of nudges. Based on these findings, recommendations for schools and families are provided.

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