Ready for School: Understanding the Assessment and Development of Young Children's Readiness Skills

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Russo, Jaclyn, Clinical Psychology - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Williford, Amanda, CU-Human Svcs, University of Virginia

This dissertation presents three independent studies that focus on two important aspects of school readiness—(1) the assessment of readiness skills both in preschool and at kindergarten entry and, (2) the combined role of teacher-child interactions and neighborhood features in supporting the development of children’s school readiness skills with a particular emphasis on their self-regulation skills. Studies 1 and 2 explored the implementation and validity of readiness assessments in both preschool and at kindergarten entry. In study 1, we found evidence for the feasibility and importance in measuring young children’s self-regulation skills using multiple measures—a format which has not been before at scale. In study 2, we explored the validity of a widely-used assessment of readiness skills in preschool over the course of the school year, something which has not been examined previously. Our findings from this study illuminated the difficulty of this measure in differentiating amongst discrete readiness skills within and between children in a classroom. Finally, in study 3, we broadened our measurement of factors that influence children’s school readiness to include classroom interactions and neighborhood features and specifically focused on a foundational readiness skill, self-regulation. The results of this study highlighted the importance of neighborhood resources to meet basic and daily needs and a child’s individual interactions with their teacher for young children’s self-regulation development.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
school readiness, teacher-child interactions, neighborhoods
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