Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The importance of school readiness and social-emotional development for children who live in poverty is well established. Head Start programs have championed the development of the whole child across all learning domains. The implementation of the K-12 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) focuses instructional skills on reading language arts, and math. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore Head Start teachers' perceptions and experiences of the CCSS implementation. The study was guided by the constructivist learning framework of Piaget and Dewey. Research questions explored the understanding and effects of the K-12 CCSS implementation from a group of 10 Head Start teachers in high poverty schools in a large urban district in Washington State. Data were collected through observations, interviews, and shared documents. Open coding was employed to look for common topics for thematic analysis. Emergent themes were related to goal setting for students, teacher training, and student development. Key findings showed early childhood teachers have 3 different sets of standards, and teachers in Head Start could not access others besides their own. Findings resulted in a document for early childhood teachers combining the CCSS; Washington State early learning standards; and goals used by Head Start teachers, in literacy, math, and social-emotional skills for children ages 4 to 6. With access to all early childhood goals, teachers can set goals for their students that precede or exceed the guidelines used at their own grade level. Implications for social change are the opportunity for teachers to meet the needs of their students, no matter their skill level, and allow students to excel beyond their classroom setting, toward greater educational opportunities.