According to public school kindergarten teachers, the most important quality for kindergarten readiness is for a child to be physically healthy, rested, and well-nourished--96 percent indicate that this quality is very important or essential for school readiness (Table 3). The majority of teachers also believe that children should be able to communicate needs, wants, and thoughts verbally (84 percent) and should be enthusiastic and curious in approaching new activities (76 percent).
Most public school kindergarten teachers (88 percent) believe that readiness for school comes as children grow and mature and cannot, therefore, be pushed (Table 5). However, 94 percent also believe that they can enhance a child's readiness by providing experiences children need to build important skills.
Ninety-seven percent of public school kindergarten teachers agree that one of the best ways to help children learn to read is by reading to them (Table 5).
Teachers in 90 percent of public school kindergarten classes reported that their students listened to stories read aloud 5 days per week in the 1992-93 school year (Table 11).
Only 27 percent of public school kindergarten teachers assume that by the end of the kindergarten year all children will be ready for first grade, and 70 percent indicate that they would hesitate to send children to first grade if they felt the children were not ready for the demands that they would meet there (Table 5). Furthermore, 85 percent of public school kindergarten teachers indicate that they communicate with the first grade teachers so that they can proceed from where the kindergarten teacher left off. Only 4 percent report that they do not communicate with the first grade teachers (derived from Table 4).
Fifty-four percent of public school kindergarten teachers teach full-day classes. Of those who teach half-day classes, 27 percent teach morning only, 11 percent teach afternoon only, and 62 percent teach both a morning and an afternoon kindergarten (Figure 8).
In the Nation's public school kindergartens, the student-to-staff ratio for spring 1993, including the teacher and paid assistants (based on full-time-equivalents), was 15 to 1 (Table 8). The student-to-adult ratio, which includes volunteers and is also based on full-time equivalents, was 14 to 1 (Table 9).
The Nation's public school kindergarten teachers average 9 years of kindergarten teaching experience (Table 14). Fifty-four percent majored in early childhood education, and 29 percent hold memberships in professional associations for early childhood education.