Enright, Samyalisa Anne (2019, August). Early childhood educational leaders’ views on preschool discipline using Q-methodology. Doctoral dissertation (Educational Leadership), San Francisco State University. (Access: https://scholarworks.calstate.edu/concern/theses/x633f283g)

Abstract: Early childhood educational (ECE) leaders are faced with real and persistent challenges around the equity and inclusiveness of preschool disciplinary practices. During early development, the implications of decisions to include or exclude early learners from preschool are compounded by how disciplinary practices can interrupt or reinforce racialized biases. More understanding is needed about the beliefs, attitudes, and dynamics that lead to preschool expulsion in the first place. This study examined how ECE leaders view preschool discipline and address it in their programs by using a mixed-methods approach, combining Q-methodology, interview data, and document analysis. Participants included 25 ECE leaders of private and publicly funded programs from six counties and 10 cities or towns in northern California. Q-methodology uses a Q-sort, or forced rank method, to measure views on a particular subject, in this case preschool discipline approaches. A novel instrument on ECE leaders views on preschool discipline was constructed based on the literature on discipline practices in this study. The literature was organized according to whether disciplinary approaches placed the onus of responsibility on the child and their parents, or on preschool staff; and whether approaches emphasized individual development or the preschool environment and safety. Data analysis yielded three viewpoints on preschool discipline: Self-reflective, Engaging, and Accountable; Exclusionary, Behaviors go Back to the Home; and Relational, Individualized, and Trauma-Informed. Implications for this study included recommendations for educational leadership, equity, policy, methodology and future research.

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