The effect of Head Start programs on social adjustment of United States Virgin Islands kindergarten students from low socio-economic status

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to compare differences in the social adjustment of United States Virgin Islands (USVI) children who participated in Head Start (HS). Children were selected from five public schools and were matched according to age and socioeconomic status. The sample consisted of 187 children, ages 54 through 66 months, parents of HS children, and 40 teachers of HS children. The children were from three intact groups; children who attended HS totaled 85, the number who attended another preschool program was 69, and those who had no pre-school experience totaled 33. The children were administered the Personal-Social and Adaptive domains of the Battelle Developmental Inventory (BDI), which was adapted to a Likert-type questionnaire for parents and teachers. Forty parents and teachers were interviewed and gave opinions about the impact of HS on the social adjustment of children in kindergarten. Teachers also gave feedback on all other children's social adjustment to kindergarten. The BDI test items were coded as outlined in the examiner's manual. Analyses of Variance (ANOVA) revealed that children who participated in HS had significantly greater social adjustment scores to kindergarten when compared to those who did not attend HS. Results of t-tests indicated that there was no significant difference between parents' and teachers' opinions of the social adjustment to kindergarten of children who had attended HS. This study provides justification for advocating to policy makers in social development, especially in Health, Education, and Social Services, the need to increase the number of HS centers in the USVI.


Social Work; Education, Early Childhood; Sociology, Public and Social Welfare

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