What Are the Goals of Kindergarten? Teachers’ Beliefs and Their Perceptions of the Beliefs of Parents and of Agents of the Education System

Aviva Sverdlov, Dorit Aram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract: Research Findings: The study examined the beliefs of kindergarten teachers (K-teachers) regarding the goals of kindergarten. We asked K-teachers to reflect on their own beliefs, their understanding of parents’ beliefs, and their understanding of the beliefs that guide agents of the education system. We further examined differences between K-teachers based on the type of kindergarten in which they worked (religious or secular) and the socioeconomic status of children’s families (middle-high or middle-low). A total of 120 K-teachers responded to closed questionnaires, and 12 teachers also participated in a semistructured interview. The results revealed an incongruence between K-teachers’ perspectives and their understanding of the positions of parents and of agents of the education system. K-teachers evaluated fostering children’s positive self-esteem as the most important goal and promoting literacy and mathematics skills as the least important. They believed, however, that parents and agents of the education system regard children’s advancement in literacy and mathematics skills as the most important goal. Practice or Policy: Recognizing this incongruence facilitates understanding of the rationale behind K-teachers’ actions and their relationships with parents and professional partners. It enables identification of topics that need to be addressed by the professional education community in order to create a dialogue among K-teachers, families, and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-371
Number of pages20
JournalEarly Education and Development
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2016

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