Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Kevin Kopp

Abstract

The common goal of wanting children to succeed in school is shared by educators, families, and communities. While meeting educational benchmarks, such as achieving at grade level to staying in school, can be linked to school readiness, so can early childhood programs. Early childhood programs such as Parents as Teachers and Pre-k programs, are important interventions to help improve student achievement and success in school. In this study, student samples were drawn from existing data in one rural school district in Missouri. The testing data were from students who began school from the fall of 2004 to the fall of 2007. Data were retrieved from grades K-3 of each student. All students were included; however, those who did not have reported information concerning Parents as Teachers or Pre-k program involvement were not included in this study. A correlation was completed using the secondary data. For the expanded purposes of the study, selected kindergarten teachers from districts comparable in size in the southwest Missouri area were administered a survey concerning their perception of early childhood programs and the impact these programs might have on student achievement. While further study is recommended to develop a better understanding of the impact that early childhood programs have on student achievement, this study provides schools, educators, and families with information that is invaluable. The study enforces the thought that it is not only the responsibility of policy makers but also educational leaders and individual families to hold each other accountable for promoting active involvement in early childhood programs such as Parents as Teachers and Pre-k before children arrive for kindergarten or first grade.

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