Planting the Seeds of College and Career Readiness in Preschool




Coneway, Betty
Hwang, Sang
Goodrich, Jill
Kim, Lyounghee
Egbert, Emilee

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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’s 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’ and their families’ 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.


Topic: The investigation explores the implementation and challenges of introducing a structured framework to enhance college and career readiness at the preschool level. The mixed-methods authentic case study focuses on how the core beliefs of the No Excuses University (NEU) framework have influenced the participants and the culture of achievement at one nonprofit preschool. | History: Informally presented preliminary research findings to the West Texas A & M Center for Learning Disabilities leadership team. Shared announcement of journal article publication on the COESS Facebook page. This will be the first poster presentation of the research findings beyond the JARC published journal article. | Data Collection Methodology: Online surveys used to collect data from adult participants (parents, preschool faculty/staff). Face-to-face interviews were conducted with preschool participants. | Expected Findings: The findings from this study suggest that preschool is not too early to begin shaping students’ identities for future success and developing the self-efficacy skills to seek out post-secondary opportunities to fit their unique interests and talents. This can be accomplished by creating a culture of college and career readiness; providing ongoing training and support for faculty, parents, and students; and addressing the ongoing challenges that occur when implementing this framework.



Coneway, Betty; Hwang, Sang K.; Goodrich, Jill; Kim, Lyounghee; and Egbert, Emilee (2020) "Planting the Seeds of College and Career Readiness in Preschool," Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 11 : Iss. 1 , Article 10. Available at:

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