Young Children's Feelings about School



This study examined factors associated with young children's feelings about school in kindergarten and first grade, using a new measure, the Feelings about School (FAS). The FAS measures children's perceptions of academic competence, their feelings about the teacher, and their general attitudes toward school. Findings provided support for the reliability and validity of the FAS for kindergartners (N=225) and first graders (N=127). Variables presumed to predict children's feelings about school were the classroom structure, academic performance, and relationships with teachers. Feelings about school were expected to predict academic engagement. Correlational analyses indicated that kindergartners' and first graders' feelings about school were associated with their academic skills, as measured by direct assessments and teacher ratings. The evidence for first graders was stronger than for kindergartners. Kindergartners' general attitudes toward school were more negative in highly structured, teacher-directed classroom environments. First graders' perceptions of competence were more negative in classrooms lacking structure and control. First graders', but not kindergartners', perceptions of competence were significantly associated with academic engagement.