14 SES 04 A, School Related Transitions within a Life Course Perspective I
The transition from kindergarten to primary school represents an important and complex change in the life of a child. The paper is based on a theory of transition that assumes that children have to manage a variety of challenges during this time (Griebel/Niesel 2004). At the individual level, for example, they have to cope with a status change: experienced kindergarteners become first grader. At the interactional level, they have to take leave of the educators and children in kindergarten and to get to know new teachers and classmates, among other challenges. For this reason, their social roles and positions might change. Beyond that, they have to handle different development tasks on the contextual level, such as meeting curricular requirements. It is assumed that children have transitioned successfully if they feel comfortable at school, can cope with the demands and are able to actively use the learning environment for their educational processes. Empirical findings indicate that there are various protective factors that can facilitate a successful transition (Griebel/Niesel 2004; Grotz 2005), such as an intensive cooperation between kindergarten, primary school and families (contextual level) and a positive group climate (interactional level). At the individual level, a child´s positive self-concept seems to be one important protective factor, to the extent that it serves as a basis for handling challenges not only in educational environments but also in society. The promotion of a positive self-concept is therefore an important aim of kindergarten and primary school, as it provides a holistic understanding of education. Given this background, the paper takes into account the development of children’s self-concepts in the transition period from kindergarten to the end of the second year of primary school.
Drawing on Shavelson et. al. (1976) the paper postulates a hierarchical and multi-dimensional self-concept structure. The general self-concept comprises physical, emotional, social and academic components, which in turn can be categorized further by area (Moschner/Dickhäuser 2006). The paper focuses on the children’s self-concept of school readiness (a part of their academic self-concept) and their social self-concept, especially with regard to whether they feel integrated in their social peer group (Rauer/Schuck 2004). These facets of the self-concept were chosen because they seem to be especially relevant for successful transition.
Nevertheless, there is still need for longitudinal studies that take the development of children in these special areas into account. To this end, the paper investigates the following research questions: How does the children´s self-concept of school readiness and their social self-concept develop in the transition period from kindergarten to the end of the second year of primary school? To what extent does children’s self-concept of school readiness correlate with their social self-concept? What other individual factors (e.g. learning performance, gender, migration background, socio-economic status of the parents) are important for the development of children´s self-concept in these areas?
Griebel, W./Niesel, R. (2004): Transitionen. Fähigkeiten von Kindern in Tageseinrichtungen fördern, Veränderungen erfolgreich zu bewältigen. Weinheim und Basel: Beltz. Grotz, T. (2005): Die Bewältigung des Übergangs vom Kindergarten zur Grundschule. Zur Bedeutung kindbezogener, familienbezogener und institutionenbezogener Schutz- und Risikofaktoren im Übergangsprozess. Hamburg: Dr. Kovač. Moschner, B./Dickhäuser, O. (2006): Selbstkonzept. In: Rost, D. H. (ed.): Handwörterbuch Pädagogische Psychologie. 3., überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Weinheim: Beltz PVU, 685-692. Rauer, W./Schuck, K. D. (2004): FEESS 1-2. Fragebogen zur Erfassung emotionaler und sozialer Schulerfahrungen von Grundschulkindern erster und zweiter Klassen. Göttingen: Beltz-Test. Shavelson, R.J./Hubner, J.J./Stanton, G.C (1976): Self-concept: Validation of construct interpretations. Review of Educational Research, 46, 407-441.
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