Year of Publication

2006

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

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Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard H. Chant

Third Advisor

Dr. Cathy A. O'Farrell

Abstract

This study examined the effect of a visual arts, family-focused school readiness intervention on the parental efficacy and level of family involvement of low-income families. A second, primary focus of the study was to test the potential of academically focused experiences in the visual arts to increase the basic concept development of young children. To increase accessibility, the intervention was conducted in a neighborhood library.

The research design for this descriptive study included qualitative and quantitative components. Data collection consisted of a non-randomized one group pre-test/posttest design from students on a standardized instrument and from primary caregivers using self-report questionnaires. Other data collection sources included field notes documenting observations made during implementation collected by the investigator, parent home engagement data in the form of a weekly survey filled out by adult participants and weekly phone calls monitoring any issues or questions regarding the completion of take-home activities.

The results of this relatively small sample using the visual arts to build basic concept knowledge indicate that, given a larger sample, this approach may prove to be a promising strategy to use with young children and their families. The average raw score gain on the student basic concept scale was 8 points at the end of the seven-week intervention. The parent surveys indicated that almost all books sent home were read each week and an average of three home learning activities per book were completed between sessions. The majority of parents commented at least once on the At-Home Surveys about increases in positive interaction with their children while engaged in the home learning activities. Enhancing the parent-child relationship begins with the sharing of positive experiences. Comments made by adult participants indicated that parents felt empowered to better support their child's learning by participating in this experience.

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