Pre-K and Kindergarten Teacher Perception of School Readiness During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a mandatory shift from in-person instruction to online learning for many young children. Teachers needed to adjust to virtual teaching, children were isolated from their peers, and parents played a bigger role in learning during the pandemic. In 2021, the shift back to in-person learning occurred. Research has already shown the negative influence COVID-19 had on students’ mental health; however, limited research has examined the impact of the pandemic on school readiness. In this study, using the Head Start domains of school readiness, 154 Kindergarten and Pre-K teachers compared current student school readiness to the readiness of their students prior to the pandemic. Results showed that nearly 80% of teachers felt that overall student functioning was Worse or Much Worse than before the pandemic; no teachers reported functioning was overall much better. Teachers most frequently identified the Ready to Learn and Social-Emotional Development domains as the areas of greatest struggle for their students; Physical Development was the least frequently reported. Chi-square tests were used to examine the association between teacher demographics and overall school readiness and domain of greatest struggle; no significant relationships were found. Future directions and limitations of these results are discussed.

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Early Childhood Education Journal



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