The hand that rocks the cradle: an evaluation of the Preschool Early Intervention Program at St. Mark's Elementary School, Shearstown

Norman, Pam (1997) The hand that rocks the cradle: an evaluation of the Preschool Early Intervention Program at St. Mark's Elementary School, Shearstown. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The purpose of this study was to investigate and explore to what degree the Preschool Early Intervention Program at St. Mark’s Elementary School in Shearstown, Newfoundland, has been a success. Of specific interest was the Preschool Early Intervention Program’s effectiveness and range of changes that have occurred in the seven year duration of the program. Comparison was made between children who had attended the Preschool Early Intervention Program at St. Mark’s and their older siblings who had not attended the program to investigate its effectiveness. – The investigation of the program included interviews with three groups in half hour sessions using open ended questions. Twenty parents, seven teachers, including the volunteer instructor of the program, the two present administrators and the former principal were chosen because they had a child that had participated in the program and at least one older child that did not. The administrators and the teaching staff had taught children in classes that had been participants and also nonparticipants of the program. Questions during the interviews focused on perceived educational achievement, reading and study habits, and quality of school life. The impact of parental involvement and other unpredicted benefits were also noted. Results are described relative to the framework of the perceptions of those involved in the Preschool Early Intervention Program at St. Mark’s Elementary School within the social context of its community. Overwhelmingly, the program was deemed effective. Effectiveness was determined by the consensus and verification of the perceptions of the parents, teaching staff, and the administrative staff of the school as given to this researcher throughout the interviews. – A comparative look at standardized tests, teacher made tests, and teacher written observations served as data to confirm the degree of success. Standardized testing has been periodically documented for the school population. The school profile containing the documentation was available for the study. Analysis of the data indicated that the program had affected growth in educational achievement. These findings are based on the comparison of grade level scores between the participants and nonparticipants of the preschool program. In all preschool graduate classes the achievement levels are significantly higher when compared to the nonparticipating classes. – IN particular, the interpretation of the parental interviews played an integral part in the study. The preschool program has focused on the prekindergarten experience of the four year olds from this community. These children have attended the sessions with a caregiver. These caregivers, often parents, were coached in instructional strategies through modelling. They purchased literature and were given additional materials for home instruction. The role of parents was vital to the program and their perceptions of its effectiveness were valued. – The interviews revealed a major observable change that had affected the organizational nature of St. Mark’s. The active involvement of parents in the education of their children at home and at school was quoted by parents and teachers as the greatest change in the relationship of the parents to the school during the education of their own children. Today, parents are visible in their supportive role throughout the whole school building. The early involvement made the parents more aware of the role they could play in ensuring home study and attention to the importance of school work by their children. – Based on information obtained in the review of related literature, test score comparisons and from the opinions of the parents and teaching staff at St. Mark’s, an effective preschool early intervention program has been described in this thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11149
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 59-70.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1997
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Education, Preschool--Newfoundland and Labrador--Shearstown --Evaluation; Literacy programs--Newfoundland and Labrador--Shearstown--Evaluation.

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