Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Education, Preschool--Iowa; Education, Primary--Iowa; Education, Preschool; Education, Primary; Kindergarten; Iowa;


This thesis research provided background for the Iowa Association of Elementary Principals on the current status of early childhood education in the fifty states. It also determined the support for mandatory kindergarten and optional pre-kindergarten programs among elementary principals and kindergarten teachers in Iowa. This data was sought to provide information for the Iowa Association of Elementary School Principals for possible legislation requiring mandatory kindergarten and optional prekindergarten programs in Iowa.

One aspect of the study involved compilation of data reported by the department of public instruction in the fifty states. A second aspect concerned a survey of elementary principals and a survey of kindergarten teachers. A comparison was made of the responses to identical questions for elementary principals and kindergarten teachers.

Data was gathered by means of a questionnaire sent to each of the fifty states. A questionnaire was designed for the elementary principals and a different questionnaire was designed for the kindergarten teachers.

Elementary principals and kindergarten teachers evidenced overwhelming support for mandatory kindergarten with teachers demonstrating strong support for optional pre-kindergarten. Elementary principals do not support optional pre-kindergarten programs without state aid. It is the writer's opinion that it will be several years before the Iowa legislature provides money for optional pre-kindergarten, therefore the writer concluded that at the present time elementary principals do not support optional pre-kindergarten.

Elementary principals and kindergarten teachers concur that kindergarten programs are educationally sound and good preparation for first grade.

Both elementary principals and kindergarten teachers showed moderate support for skills development as a reason for pre-kindergarten and minimal support for it as an opportunity to interact with other children. Both groups indicated weak support regarding whether prekindergarten was educationally sound. Earlier support evidenced by kindergarten teachers for pre-kindergarten should be questioned in light of this. While principals do not support pre-kindergarten without state aid they felt more strongly about its educational benefits.

Principals reported that pre-kindergarten programs are not feasible at this time because of the lack of adequate facilities without additional construction. Any future optional pre-kindergarten programs may necessitate additional construction.

Kindergarten teachers indicated strongly that there was a noticeable difference between kindergarten students with pre-kindergarten experience and those without. There was moderate support for this experience developing skills and helping children adjust to the academic environment.

There was moderate support for mandatory kindergarten among the fifty states. The great majority of states provide financial assistance for kindergarten programs. Kindergarten is offered in a high percentage of the school districts in 52 percent of the states.

The majority of states have optional prekindergarten programs with an extremely small number of states providing state aid. Generally, pre-kindergarten programs are offered in a very small percentage of school districts in the fifty states.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education


Department of School Administration and Personnel Services

First Advisor

Norman McCumsey


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (169 pages)



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