Young children attending high quality early education programs have demonstrated improved school readiness outcomes, with the most impact on low-income and high-risk children. The comprehensive approach to school readiness used in Head Start programs that includes ready children, ready schools, and ready families, facilitates transition and continued school success. However, gaps in school leadership efficacy around early education, family engagement, and a preschool through third grade continuum (PreK-3) have been documented in the literature. Unique to this study is the addition of the concept, ready leadership, inclusive of school leaders (district administrators, site level administrators, and teachers) and parents as leaders. Using a qualitative research design and Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory, the role of leadership in a PreK-3 continuum, around the integration of a Head Start preschool on an elementary school campus and on promoting and sustaining family engagement was explored. Key findings included: (1) experiences with early education impact self-efficacy for a PreK-3 approach; (2) teachers focus on the transition from preschool to kindergarten, with their perspectives depending on their grade level position on the continuum; (3) regulations can create barriers to integration, real and perceived; (4) intentional alignment and collaboration support integration; and (5) strong family engagement policies support parents as leaders, including redefining the role of the school volunteer, to include unique strengths and needs of today’s families. Recommendations include policy and practice to respond to leaders’ priorities for a PreK-3 continuum, addressing barriers to integration, supporting parents as leaders, redefining the role of school volunteer; and capitalizing on transitional kindergarten as a link between early learning in preschool and the increased rigor now seen in kindergarten.
|Commitee:||Gilleland, Dayton, Scott, James|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Early childhood education, Elementary education|
|Keywords:||Early education, Family engagement, Head Start, Preschool-3rd grade continuum, School leadership, School readiness|
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