Skills for School Readiness: Beliefs of New York City’s Pre-K Teachers

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Year of Completion


First Advisor

Efleda Preclaro Tolentino


This study aimed to uncover models of beliefs which New York City Pre-K teachers hold pertaining to school readiness. Beliefs were examined from an early childhood educator perspective, which included teachers of general education and special education classrooms. Forty-one New York City Pre-K teachers from various early childhood settings participated in this Q-methodology study. This dissertation identified two major viewpoints about Kindergarten readiness. This study adds to the current research that has found that teachers have differing beliefs about early learning standards that are most important for school readiness. This study uncovered two models of teacher beliefs. Q-Model 1, Play and Exploration, reflected the belief that approaches to learning and social and emotional development were most important for school readiness. Teachers within this model valued play, the use of classroom materials, and interaction with peers. Teachers in this model strongly disagreed with academic skills in the domains of literacy, math, and science. In contrast, Q-Model 2, Literacy, Numeracy, and Task completion cited academic skills as more important to school readiness. The study examines to impact of demographic data including the number of years teaching in early childhood, program setting type, highest degree earned, and certifications. These findings have implications regarding teachers’ personal, contextual, cultural, and pedagogical knowledge. Recommendations are offered to include science, technology, and engineering in teacher preparation and administrator preparation programs to enrich knowledge and practice. Additionally, Pre-K programs not located in district school should consider opening a dialogue with Kindergarten teachers to increase school readiness and align instruction.