Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D.

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Phyllis Jones

Keywords

beliefs, developmentally appropriate practice, disability, National Board, preschool

Abstract

This study examined Early Childhood Special Educators' perceptions of play as a developmentally appropriate practice in special education prekindergarten classrooms in one southeastern school district. Through purposeful sampling, eight prekindergarten special educators were identified because they held multiple teaching certifications and some held National Board certification. The participants had many years of experience in pre-kindergarten special education, and were professional development trainers, teacher mentors and or leaders in the prekindergarten special education community. These eight accomplished pre-kindergarten special education teachers were interviewed using an informal, semi-structured format about their beliefs concerning play, how they implement it in their classrooms as well as their perspectives on barriers to play. The participants identify the supports needed to implement play as a developmentally appropriate practice in special education prekindergarten classrooms. The findings reveal that Early Childhood Special Educators' believe in play as a developmentally appropriate practice and state that play is foundational to their practice in prekindergarten classrooms for children with special needs. Implications for future research and practice are included.