Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Mary Jane Moran

Committee Members

Priscilla Blanton, Hillary Fouts, Sandra P. Thomas

Abstract

This qualitative study considered seven parents’ and three teachers’ values, beliefs, perspectives and meanings of within the context of daily home-to-child care transitions in one infant-toddler center in a Southeastern land-grant university early childhood laboratory school. Sociocultural and attachment theories anchored the study and the developmental niche conceptual framework informed the methodology. Primary methodologies included naturalistic observations, video tapes of transitions and parent and teacher interviews using the video stimulated recall interview (VSRI) method. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method, creating vignettes, and ensuring trustworthiness through the creation of thick descriptions, triangulation of data, and reflective journaling. Findings include: (a) teachers partnered with parents to create and implement individualized strategies in order to support children and parents during the process of daily transitions, (b) parents and teachers had different perspectives and often assigned diverse meanings to the same event during transitions, (c) parents and teachers periodically felt uncertain, apprehensive and/or tense during daily transitions.

This study contributes new knowledge to the field of early childhood education, and is the first study in the U.S. to uncover particular aspects of the psychology of teachers and parents, by revealing some of the ways parents and teachers experience daily transitions differently through juxtaposing and weaving together their thoughts and feelings. Data was collected through VSRIs in a novel way with teachers and parents, a method typically used with teachers only. Vignettes were a unique aspect of this study; not only providing a compelling form of presentation, but also a valuable approach to data analysis that illuminated the nuances of transitions. As such, an attempt to delve more deeply into parent’ and teachers’ values, beliefs, perspectives and meanings assigned to transitions took place. Finally, the notion to broadly define the process of home-to-child care daily transitions and include time throughout when teachers, parents and children reflect on, plan and prepare for transitions was proposed..

Implications include the need for longitudinal studies in diverse settings and the use of methodologies that make visible social-emotional and pedagogical aspects during these brief, intimate, yet public times and professional development that includes these understandings.

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