The influence of preschool on St. Maarten
Broekhoven, C.A. van
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of preschool on children’s achievements in group 1 and 2 on St. Maarten. Six schools participated in the research, from which four were private schools and two were public schools. Two classes from each school were involved, from which all the students and teachers participated. Also, the student care coordinators and parents contributed to this study. For many involved in education, preschool is helpful and important and it sets a basic foundation for the rest of child’s educational career. But little is known about the specific skills preschool contributes to and how important it is as a factor in a child’s development on St. Maarten. The ecological systems theory of Bronfenbrenner was used as a framework and was able to explain and display the results of this study. Not only preschool was taken into consideration, but also the socioeconomic status of the parents, their language, parental involvement (the Active Parenting Program) and last but not least the educational system on St. Maarten as a whole. This study made use of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative methods did not confirm the assumption that preschool has an influence on the achievements of children in group 1 and 2, but it did confirm a relation between achievements and the socioeconomic status from a part of the sample. Perhaps due to a small sample size of children that did not attend preschool or that it was not always clear what kind of care a child has had, could be the reasons for the absence of significant results. The qualitative methods, however did indicate a certain influence of preschool. These methods did not only confirm that preschool has a positive influence on a child’s achievements, but also pointed out other important markers which eventually created a complete picture of the educational system on St. Maarten. Finally, various bottlenecks were found within the educational system. These bottlenecks have led to a number of recommendations for DEI and other stakeholders to improve the quality of early childhood education and primary education.