Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Sarah Hough

Abstract

The kindergarten program at the study site transitioned from half day to full day, yet the curriculum was not updated to accommodate the full day schedule, or to include best practices. In order to prepare learners for their future in education, activities were implemented to determine how problem based learning can promote acquisition of the 21st century learning skills. The purpose of this qualitative study was to create and implement an effective, full day curriculum that promotes 21st century learning skills for kindergarten students. This project, rooted in constructivism which allows for active and social learning, supplements the existing half day curriculum and encourages collaborating, experiential learning, and problem solving. The question that guided this project study involved understanding how 21st century learning skills of collaboration, problem solving, effective communication, and decision making can be integrated into a full day kindergarten curriculum. A qualitative participatory action research framework was used to gather data in the form of field notes during observations and interviews were coded and analyzed to find themes and categories that emerged. The findings revealed that 21st century skills can be acquired by kindergarten learners when the role of the teacher changes into a facilitator and models appropriate behaviors and skills. The final project includes a teacher's guide to support teachers as they transition into a new role as a facilitator as well as sample lessons with suggestions and hints for implementation. This project contributes to social change by presenting teachers with a data driven curriculum that offers an authentic, experiential way of teaching to help students develop skills necessary to become successful members of their classroom.