Semester of Graduation

Summer 2020

Degree

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction, Early Childhood Education

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Young children spend most of their waking hours in childcare. Therefore, the care and education received in childcare is an important factor in young children's development. Research has revealed that a child’s first three years of life are a period of rapid brain development and teacher education level is associated with increased outcomes for young children. However, the educational requirements to work in childcare remain low. In the absence of formal training and education, early childhood teachers are likely to rely on their beliefs about young children, which can impact the ways teachers care for young children. This research intends to determine if a relationship exists between adult attachment style, teacher beliefs about toddler care and education, and teacher sensitivity in diverse early learning classrooms in the southern United States. The research questions guiding the study are: Is there a relationship between adult attachment style, teacher beliefs about toddler care and education, and teacher sensitivity?, Is teacher attachment style related to teacher beliefs?, and Is teacher attachment style related to teacher sensitivity & regard for child perspectives? The participant cohort is composed of 23 teachers that serve children ages 12-36 months in diverse early learning environments. Though, the participant number is small, results suggest that participants had a uniquely insecure attachment trend, and fairly low congruence with developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). More work should be done to determine if this relationship is significant, and if this can be attributed to education level or training. Furthermore, a relationship between education and adult attachment style was found.

Committee Chair

DiCarlo, Cynthia

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