Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donald Poplau


Many early childhood learners enter kindergarten not academically and social-emotionally prepared. This qualitative study explored teachers' perceptions of what constitutes high-quality learning concerning kindergarten readiness and parents' understanding and support of kindergarten readiness. The conceptual framework is based on recent studies by early childhood researchers on how and what early learners should experience during their pre-k years. The research questions focused on teachers' understanding of structural quality and process quality, kindergarten readiness, and age- appropriate curriculum. In addition, parents' understanding of kindergarten readiness and what types of learning opportunities they offer their children were examined. Through purposeful sampling, 16 teachers and 17 parents were interviewed from an early childhood site. Interview data were analyzed using a thematic analysis. The data were analyzed by coding and observing for recurrent categories and themes. Key findings indicated that teachers demonstrated a lack of understanding of structural quality and process quality and believed that the current curriculum is outdated and should be replaced to significantly impact student learning. Parents perceived that academics were far more important than social-emotional development and that affording their children learning opportunities outside of school was important. As a result of this study, a professional development program was developed for teachers intended to enhance their instructional practices in preparing early learners towards kindergarten success. Parents will also receive training from teachers to support social-emotional learning opportunities. The training could enable both teachers and parents to better support the cognitive and social-emotional growth of children.