Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield

Second Advisor

Dr. Ronald Crowell


The purpose of this study was to assess and describe programmatic and curricular differences between developmental and regular kindergartens. The research questions were to find how regular and developmental teachers describe their program and to determine from these descriptions any differences or similarities. A descriptive research design was used. A survey was developed from a search of literature, review by a panel of experts, and a pilot study.

The population for the study was all kindergarten teachers and the sample was all kindergarten teachers in a metropolitan Detroit county. Surveys were returned by 82% of the sample which met a priori standards for a valid response. Data are presented to compare sample demographic characteristics with population characteristics.

The survey developed provided a means to measure teacher responses regarding class size, emphasis toward a "developmental" or "academic" orientation; emphasis in terms of the time placed on various curricula, materials, and activities; and times actual specific activities were used. Data obtained from the survey were used to narrate a description of developmental kindergarten and regular kindergarten programs.

Responses indicated that both developmental and regular kindergarten programs held a mixture of developmental and academic orientations with more of an emphasis on developmental orientations. Responses on curriculum components indicated that although developmental kindergarten programs placed a larger emphasis on social/emotional activities, both had curriculums that included developmental objectives and traditional subject area curricula. Responses regarding material use indicated similarities except for a greater response from kindergarten teachers for pencil and paper materials. Given a list of 28 traditional activities, responses indicated their use was similar in all but five activities.

Data indicated that developmental kindergarten programs had smaller class sizes, more of an emphasis on a social/emotional curriculum, less of an emphasis on paper and pencil activities, and more of an emphasis on small group activities. However, in general, responses indicated more similarities between the two programs than differences.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access