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Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation: Parent Aware Statistical Analysis Lauren Bach, Marin Beck, Kristen Paulsen, and Katie Westermayer Minnesota State.

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Presentation on theme: "Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation: Parent Aware Statistical Analysis Lauren Bach, Marin Beck, Kristen Paulsen, and Katie Westermayer Minnesota State."— Presentation transcript:

1 Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation: Parent Aware Statistical Analysis Lauren Bach, Marin Beck, Kristen Paulsen, and Katie Westermayer Minnesota State University, Mankato Dr. Emily Stark, Faculty Mentor Relevance Because a majority of brain development occurs before the age of five, establishing a stimulating environment for children’s development is vital early on (“Parent Aware” 2012). Unfortunately, this does not always happen in the home, and many children entering kindergarten have not developed the skills necessary for success. A solution to this problem is to prioritize quality preschool programs (“Teachers” 2004), which can be assessed to ensure they are preparing children for kindergarten. For this reason, preschool rating systems have been implemented across the country, so that parents can gauge the quality of the program, and so that preschools in general will be motivated toward higher standards and teaching practices (“States Move” 2007). Goals Because this program is relatively new, many preschool programs are not aware of Parent Aware or ready to be rated. Our research team joined with SMIF to survey preschool programs in Southern Minnesota, in order to understand: Familiarity of Parent Aware How being rated effects financial and educational practices Resources required to change to an approved curriculum Ways SMIF can financially or otherwise support preschools Recommendations To SMIF Clarify information about the training, procedures, and deadlines Market the potential of having a Parent Aware rating Provide preschools resources like workshops, training, and funding Future Research Evaluate the impact of the previous recommendations Discover further concerns that need to be addressed Investigate how parents’ and communities’ understanding and awareness of Parent Aware develops in the future Measure the usefulness of a Parent Aware rating Results Knowledge of Parent Aware 89.7% of respondents had previously heard of the Parent Aware rating system 7.7% of participants reported being very informed 89.7% of participants reported that it would be useful to receive more information Methods Participants An online survey was sent out to 100 area preschools via SurveyMonkey. Participants were identified through a list provided by SMIF. 39 participants, each representing a different preschool 19 Southern Minnesota counties represented Participants included administrators, directors, teachers, and coordinators Between 9 and 180 students were enrolled in the preschools Most of the children in the schools were 3-5 year olds, with a few programs including students ranging from 6 months to 6 years old Sample questions : Have you heard of the Parent Aware rating system? How informed are you about the Parent Aware rating system? Would it be useful to you to receive more information about Parent Aware? References Jacobson, L. (2007). States Move Toward Closer Scrutiny of Preschools. Education week, 3. Retrieved from (2004). Teachers: Pre-K Provides Benefits for Kindergarten. Report on preschool programs, 17. Retrieved from (2012). Parent Aware. Retrieved from Acknowledgements We would like to thank the Undergraduate Research Center for their generous financial contribution in support of our research and the Honors Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato for their support. Also, we would like to thank the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation for providing us with this research opportunity. Background Parent Aware Pilot program in Minnesota Assigns a rating to preschools that apply Informs parents of a preschool’s quality Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) Initiated a contract with the Honors Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato Aims to understand preschool programs’ needs in implementing Parent Aware approved curriculums Offers support, information, and financial assistance Resources Participants indicated that workshops/training would be the most useful resource for SMIF to provide. Reactions of Preschool Programs One in four respondents that are currently rated reported that attaining the Parent Aware rating improved their program and students’ learning Three respondents said that they have not made any significant changes in their programming after attaining a Parent Aware rating Funding for potential staff changes and assessments was of concern Reactions of Parents Three of four preschools that currently have a Parent Aware rating have not received any reaction from parents One preschool indicated, “Parents are very pleased” with the rating 14 of 17 respondents who are working towards rating reported a lack of reaction from parents * Background from freeimageslive.co.uk Honors Connection: As Honors students, it is vital that our research is applicable in the real world, and that we make our presence known. To address this responsibility, we are exposed to opportunities for collaboration that are unavailable to the average undergraduate college student. SMIF specifically sought out the Honors Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato to assist in their research projects. We continue to help the communities in Southern Minnesota through our unique collaboration.


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