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When the bell rings we go inside and learn: children's and parents' understandings of the kindergarten transition

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The transition to kindergarten is a significant milestone for children and families in the United States. Education reform movements and early childhood policy initiatives have had significant impact on the

The transition to kindergarten is a significant milestone for children and families in the United States. Education reform movements and early childhood policy initiatives have had significant impact on the transition process in recent years, and as a result, there is greater emphasis on promoting "ready children" for school. Previous research on the transition to kindergarten in the U.S. consists primarily of adult perspectives, examining parents and teachers' expectations for kindergarten and explicating their concerns about the transition. While adults impart important considerations about the transition to kindergarten, members of the early childhood community should also pay attention to children's perspectives as they too offer critical insight on getting ready for school. This dissertation foregrounds children's and experiences getting ready for and being in kindergarten, bringing attention their participation in transition activities and school routines. In addition, this study examines ways parents structure children's participation in transition activities and school routines to provide background information on children's experiences preparing for school. This study used data from a large-scale qualitative research project conducted in Arizona to understand children's experiences transitioning to kindergarten. Specifically, interviews with preschool-aged children, kindergarten-aged children, and mothers were analyzed to impart a deeper understanding of children's viewpoints becoming and being kindergarteners. Findings illustrate how mothers' understandings of kindergarten, and constructions of readiness have influence over the transition process. Moreover, findings offer thick descriptions of how children learn about kindergarten, make meaning of school rules and routines, and form membership within classroom communities of practice. Moreover, interpretations of children's viewpoints contribute nuanced understandings of situations that promote or hinder children's participation in transition activities, and subsequent engagement in kindergarten classrooms. This study contributes to the ongoing discourse on kindergarten readiness. The viewpoints of children and parents on getting ready for and being in kindergarten provide alternative perspectives, contributing to a more holistic understanding of the transition experience. Further, a key implication of this study is that children's perspectives be given due weight in practical, programmatic, and policy initiatives aimed at promoting positive and successful transitions to kindergarten.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Body-Chair: The Entangled Relationship between a Girl and Her Wheelchair

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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between an adolescent girl with an orthopedic impairment and her wheelchair. The study looked at the relationship of a high

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between an adolescent girl with an orthopedic impairment and her wheelchair. The study looked at the relationship of a high school female and how she views her wheelchair as a separate entity and not an extension of her body. This study also looked at how the relationship with her wheelchair had a profound influence on how she self-identified, as a “normal girl” and refuted the disability identity that was assigned her. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) states that there are about 6.7 million children in the U.S. with some type of a disability (NCES, 2019). Out of that number in the year 2015-16, there was a relatively small number of children with orthopedic impairments (i.e. 1% or 67,000). Approximately 16,640 of that number are females (NCES, 2019, OSEP, 2018, U.S. Department of Education, 2019). The NCES concludes that there are 0.8 percent of females between the ages of 3-22 that participate in some type of special education program at a public school in the Unites States.

This study moved away from the traditional humanist lens (human v nature) and instead employed new materialist and post humanist theoretical frameworks to explore the entangled material reality of the body-chair relationship. Exploring the body-chair relationship through a material discursive approach allowed for data to be read and re-read exploring the relationality between self and matter. The participant of the study refuted the notion to claim disability due to her ability to perform acts typical of a high school female (e.g. engage in social media, ride public transportation independently).

The results of the study suggest that a disability identity is multifaceted and diverse in similar ways, as are the people with impairments and disabilities. This dissertation provides the opening for further research to explore the disability identity and is not the final word. The relationality between self and matter is entangled with social discourse on what it means to be disabled. Questions not easily answered: Who gets to claim disability? Who does not? The implications for educations are numerous and profound.

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Date Created
  • 2020