The attitudes and judgments of Indiana school superintendents regarding early childhood programs in the public schools

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ink, Richard L. (Richard Louis), 1941-
Ballou, Philip E. (Philip Edwin), 1925-
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of the study was to determine the attitudes and judgments of public school superintendents in the State of Indiana in regard to the public school system and early childhood programs. Early childhood education was defined as: parent education for parents of young children, nursery school (prekindergarten) for children of ages three and four, kindergarten for five year olds, and day care programs for children.A questionnaire containing forty-five items was developed and refined with the aid of the Northeastern Indiana School Study Council serving as the pilot study group. A questionnaire was sent to all 289 superintendents of public school corporations in Indiana. Two hundred five, or 71 per cent of the superintendents replied to the questionnaire. The data were analyzed and reported as raw numbers, percentages, and totals.Major findings included:1. Approximately 51 per cent of the superintendents indicated the present educational services available to all three, four, and five year old children were not adequate in the school districts represented.2. Approximately 80 per cent of the schools did not provide educational programs for adults relating to the role of the parent.3. Approximately 78 per cent of the superintendents strongly agreed the early childhood programs should have been concerned about all aspects of a young child's development.4. Over 95 per cent of the responding superintendents indicated strong agreement or agreement that the family had the primary responsibility and the rest of society had a supplemental responsibility for providing adequate health, education, and care of young children.5. Approximately 64 per cent of the respondents strongly agreed or agreed that teaching people ways to be better parents was an educational need in the community.6. Approximately 63 per cent of the superintendents disagreed that day care and nursery school programs in the community might have been best provided by the public school.7. Approximately 97 per cent of the superintendents strongly agreed or agreed the availability of revenue for financing programs for young children was limited.8. Approximately 87 per cent of the superintendents expressed agreement that an enriched experience in a planned educational program was important to a young child's development.9. A total of approximately 63 per cent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed early childhood services could be effective when delivered through the public school system.10. Approximately 57 per cent of the responding superintendents disagreed or strongly disagreed that the nursery school for three and four year old children should have been operated as an integral part of elementary education in the public schools.Conclusions were:1. Early childhood programs, outside the home, were a need in the State of Indiana. Kindergarten programs were not available for all five year old children. The educational needs for all three, four, and five year old children were not being adequately met.2. A program teaching high school students and adults how to be competent parents was a need in the State of Indiana. A t the same time competency as a parent was judged to be an important element for the provision of meaningful experience in a young child's life.3. Approximately 75 per cent of the superintendent's attitudes and judgments concerning the philosophy of early childhood development was in agreement with the review of research and related literature.4. Superintendents expressed agreement that a Planned educational program was important in a young child's development and the public schools could effectively deliver the early childhood services. However, over one-half of the superintendents expressed disagreement that the educational programs for three and four year old children should be operated in the public schools.