Planting the Seeds of College and Career Readiness in Preschool
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Many jobs require some type of post-secondary degree or specialized training beyond high school, therefore addressing college and career readiness concepts at an early age may influence young children‚Äôs future success. This mixed-methods authentic case study explores the implementation and challenges of introducing a structured framework to enhance the culture of universal achievement at one non-profit preschool in a rural hub city. The research site is non-profit preschool accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which serves predominantly low-income families. The purpose of the study was to discover how the core beliefs of the No Excuses University (NEU) program have influenced awareness of post-secondary opportunities and prospects for educational achievement. Participants included 18 preschool faculty/staff members, 37 parents of preschool students, and 31 preschool students. Adult participants answered online survey questions, while preschool students responded to face-to-face interview questions. Analysis of the collected data revealed that fostering a culture of universal achievement in a preschool setting can enhance young students‚Äô and their families‚Äô awareness of future educational opportunities, increase communication regarding long-term post-secondary goals, and support the development of a positive future story. Conclusions drawn from this study indicate that implementing a structured framework that addresses a variety of educational opportunities can positively influence the child, their parents, members of the school faculty, and the local community. Strategies and effective approaches executed by the preschool include the use of powerful symbolism and multi-faceted collaboration. Some untold challenges to program implementation are discussed. The implications from this research study on early exposure to college and career readiness concepts are applicable to many fields of study.