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Title:Head Start Programs: Are They Beneficial to Low-Income, African American Children? An Ethnographic Analysis of School Readiness
Author(s):Maxon, Theola; Oladunni, Anita; Jarrett, Robin L.
Contributor(s):Jarrett, Robin L.
Subject(s):Human Development and Family Studies
Head Start
Geographic Coverage:United States
Abstract:Understanding how head start programs are preparing low income African American children to successfully transition from preschool to kindergarten is important. However, the long term effectiveness of these programs on childrens academic abilities is currently being debated. Therefore, we used an interpretive qualitative approach, guided by resiliency theory, to explore the lives of ten families from an improvised Midwestern neighborhood in an effort to better understand how their head start program was preparing their children for the transition to kindergarten. During two in-depth interviews, one conducted with mothers while their child was enrolled in pre-kindergarten, and one following their childs completion of kindergarten, we asked mothers to rate their childs preparedness for kindergarten. The following three categories emerged: 1) children whos before and after kindergarten preparedness scores increased, 2) children whos before and after kindergarten preparedness scores remained the same, and 3) children whos before and after kindergarten preparedness scores decreased. Five children had an increased in their scores, demonstrating that they exceeded their kindergarten teachers expectations. Four children had consistent scores, demonstrating they met their teachers expectations. Only one child had a decrease in their scores, demonstrating that they struggled to meet their teachers expectations. Based on these findings, we conclude that for the majority of our participants, head start was successful in preparing them for their transition from preschool to kindergarten. This is important because it highlights the significance of head start programs in effectively placing children on the right path for academic success.
Issue Date:2015-05
Genre:Conference Poster
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 is held by the authors.
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-22

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