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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Robert D. Morrow

First Committee Member

Judith Van Hoorn

Second Committee Member

Kenneth L. Beauchamp

Third Committee Member

Robert R. Hopkins


The primary purpose of this study was to identify social competence and academic survival skills necessary for success in kindergarten. The study was designed to indicate similarities and differences among early childhood educators in (a) academic survival skills considered necessary for success in kindergarten, and (b) behaviors considered inappropriate for kindergarten. A review of the literature revealed minimal research related to academic survival skills and social competence in kindergarten.

In order to ascertain which skills early childhood educators consider crucial for the child's successful survival in kindergarten, the Social Behavior Skills Inventory (Walker & Rankin, 1980) was utilized as a survey instrument to obtain the relevant information. The survey obtained data that determined the specific social competence and academic survival skills considered important for kindergarten children in Calaveras, Amador, and Tuolumne Counties in rural California.

The results of the study revealed information regarding social competence and academic survival skills needed for success in kindergarten.

There were only two academic survival skills agreed upon by kindergarten teachers, preschool professionals, and family day care providers as being necessary for success in kindergarten. Social skills and positive interactions with peers we r e not as critical for academic survival as other types of skills. Kindergarten teachers considered more of the adaptive skills to be necessary for academic survival than either preschool professionals or family day care providers.

Far more maladaptive behaviors were rated as highly important than appropriate behaviors by all groups. All participant groups felt more strongly about unacceptable, maladaptive behaviors than critical, appropriate behaviors. Altogether, 16 of 51 maladaptive behaviors were rated unacceptable by all three participant groups. There was uniform agreement among all survey participants that two behaviors were not tolerated in kindergarten. The majority of behaviors rated as unacceptable in kindergarten were behaviors that challenged the teacher's control and authority. The least important maladaptive behaviors were related to peer socialization.

This study was a beginning in determining the particular adaptive precursor skills needed by the at-risk child. By identifying academic survival skills considered necessary for a successful adjustment to kindergarten, the study provided data on skills needed by the young child at-risk for school failure. A number of recommendations for further research were generated.



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