A PUBLIC BILINGUAL PREKINDERGARTEN MONTESSORI PROGRAM AND ITS IMPACT ON BRACKEN TEST LITERACY OUTCOMES: PRINCIPALS’ BELIEFS ON THE RESULTS
Galindo, Maria I.
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Children who participate in high-quality prekindergarten programs with strong instructional support are more competent in early literacy skills than are children in programs with less adequate support (Hamre & Pianta, 2005). A growing concern that exists in the field of early childhood education is that a gap exists in school readiness for bilingual children in regular prekindergarten programs. In this study, the sample consisted of 600 students and two administrators. Participants attended two prekindergarten centers in a large urban district in Texas. The literacy outcomes of students who participated in a traditional bilingual prekindergarten program were compared to the literacy outcomes of students from a Montessori bilingual prekindergarten program, based on scores from the Bracken Basic Concept Scale: Expressive (BBCS:E) in 2012-2013. The scores of 300 Spanish-speaking prekindergarten students attending a Montessori bilingual program and the scores of 300 Spanish-speaking prekindergarten students attending a traditional bilingual program were compared. An independent samples t-test was used to compare differences in their respective mean scores on each of the subtests on the BBCS:E. A linear regression was conducted on the BBCS:E, with the bilingual education program serving as the independent variable. For the Size/Comparison, and Shapes subtests; and the School Readiness Composite Scale in the BBSC: E, the results were statistically significant, as well in the linear regression that accounted for 9.3% of the variance and reflected a moderate effect size (Cohen, 1988), including the Numbers/Counting subtest in the linear regression. With the exception of the Colors subtest, Spanish-speaking students enrolled in the Montessori bilingual education program outperformed Spanish-speaking students enrolled in the traditional bilingual education program. From one-on-one interviews conducted with the campus principals who supported the different bilingual programs, the following themes emerged: (a) purposeful materials, (b) lesson presentation, (c) oral language, (d) exposure to literacy, and (e) letter sounds. Results of this study may inform school leaders of the effectiveness of Montessori bilingual programs in the area of school readiness. Implications for future research were: (a) using all the prekindergarten bilingual programs existing in the district involved in the study, (b) creating a testing team to test the Spanish-speaking students in the bilingual prekindergarten programs, and (c) reducing the number of days for the testing window and ensuring that window for testing is followed.