A study conducted by Soltero-Ruiz (2013) examined the perceptions of kindergarten teachers regarding the readiness skills necessary for academic and social success for students entering kindergarten. This study used a quantitative survey to interview 30 public school teachers, six of which also participated in a qualitative interview following the survey.
Through the results of this study, it can be noted that out of five primary readiness skills: social skills, literacy skills, academic skills, behavioral skills, and social-emotional skills, 14/30 teachers ranked behavioral skills as being the most important skill for entering kindergarteners followed by social and literacy skills tied with five votes each, social-emotional skills with four votes, and academic skills with only one vote as being the most important skill.
One teacher opted to write her own response of, “examining student self-portrait” as the most important readiness skill for incoming kindergarteners. Without manners and good moral behavior, how is a teacher supposed to teach? Children learn how to behave as moral citizens before they learn about academics. Once behavioral skills are in place, students will be ready to learn! This study’s theoretical foundation can be used as a reference in relation to the significance of educators building on the skills taught prior to Kindergarten.
It also heightens teachers’ awareness of how to help students become successful and competent in meeting the kindergarten standards. The theoretical foundation of this study is based on constructivism because this paradigm is about how students construct knowledge. It is about what students are learning and how they are experiencing new situations in order to learn. It uses social constructivism by applying to the research purpose of developing an understanding of the perceptions that kindergarten teachers have about readiness skills.
Prominent theorist on constructivism, Jean Piaget (1896-1980) believes that a constructivist classroom must provide an array of activities to challenge students to accept individual differences, boost their readiness to learn, discover new ideas, and construct their own knowledge. A Study on Moral Values A study conducted by Al-Somadi purposed that an enriching children’s literature program would have a positive effect towards developing moral values for children at the kindergarten stage.
This study was performed at a Jordanian educational system where the participants were selected from two private kindergarten classrooms. The control group was represented by one kindergarten classroom consisting of 30 students while the experimental group was represented by another kindergarten classroom consisting of 31 students. The control group was taught solely by the regular literacy program currently implemented in the classroom while the experimental group was taught with the enriching literacy program focusing on picture storybooks in children’s literature.
An observational checklist was reviewed by a panel of experts and designed to measure the development of moral values for kindergarten students. This checklist was administered as both a pre-test to both the control and experimental groups. The analysis was operated over a 15-week period where each week the experimental group was introduced to two new stories. At the end of the 15 weeks, the observational checklist was readministered to both groups to measure children’s development of values by the teachers in both groups.
The checklist was then analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Studies (SPSS) and results and conclusions were drawn. The results revealed that in the post-test, the mean of the experimental group was 2. 67 and the standard deviation was. 475 while the mean of the control group was 1. 40 with a standard deviation of . 471. With reference to these results, it is shown that there were differences in the mean scores between both groups acknowledging the experimental group, which was in relation to the development of moral values for students.
It has been acknowledged that by mentoring children to analyze and distinguish the moral values in a story, they will indirectly learn the moral lesson. This can awaken mental stimulation and help children recognize ethical dilemmas in real life situations. (Al-Somadi, 2012) Jean Piaget on Constructivism Jean Piaget is an eminent figure in the development of constructivist theories. He explored four sequential stages of the psychological development of children and addresses the sentiment that teachers should be cognizant of these stages.
The stages are Sensory-motor Stage (before two years old), Preoperational Stage (two to seven years old), Concrete Operational Stage (seven to eleven years old), and the Formal Operational Stage (after eleven years old). According to Piaget, in order to provide an optimal learning environment and experience, learners should construct knowledge that is meaningful to them. Lev Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development Theorist Lev Vygotsky’s (1896-1934) work in social and cognitive development has become widely known and referred to in the past several decades by professionals across the board.
Vygotsky stated that, “learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function” (Vygotsky, 1978). He preaches that for learning to occur, the learner must first make contact with the social environment on a personal level and then internalize the experience. These internalized experiences set the foundation to construct new ideas.
The difference between what a learner can achieve independently and what a learner can achieve with scaffolding and encouragement is known as the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Vygotsky states that the ZPD is where the most sensitive guidance should be given and if done so properly, it can support children towards developing higher mental functions. Furthermore, he recommends that teachers make the most of cooperative learning exercises where all children can benefit from one another.