• A Survey of Preschool Special Education Professionals and Their Use of Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports in Early Childhood Settings

      Tincani, Matt; Thurman, S. Kenneth; Hantula, Donald A.; DuCette, Joseph P. (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      This study sought to describe the current implementation of behavioral strategies across Tiers 1, 2 and 3 of the preschool Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) model by preschool special education professionals in the state of Pennsylvania (PA). Both federal and state mandates have urged and required the use of PBIS in early childhood settings to alleviate issues of challenging behavior, while simultaneously reducing suspension and expulsion at the early childhood level. As such, the current study attempted to outline the level of preparation and training received by preschool special education professionals, across all disciplines, in the area of PBIS by higher education entities, as well as through their preschool special education employers. Furthermore, the study looked to analyze the reported implementation of PBIS strategies across tiers by the special education professionals within early childhood settings across regions of PA. Approximately 780 preschool special education professionals were surveyed and a total of 248 responded, resulting in a 31.8% response rate. A descriptive survey approach was utilized and univariate analyses, as well as one-way ANOVA and correlational analyses were conducted. Results showed the current state of PBIS implementation in PA through preschool special education professionals remains variable, inconsistent and possibly under-supported by employers and higher education entities. A large percentage of the overall population, 62%, reported having taken 0 credits in PBIS-related content at the higher education level. Approximately 65% reported two or fewer trainings offered by their employer in the past two years, however, 70% of the respondents reported being offered coaching in PBIS. Behavior Support Specialists, Special Education Teachers and Occupational Therapists are among the top three defined professional roles that consistently report implementing strategies with higher frequencies than other defined disciplines. Tier 1 strategies are implemented at higher frequencies than Tier 2 strategies and Tier 2 strategies are implemented with higher frequencies than Tier 3 strategies. Specific, targeted areas of global PBIS requirements can be increased to possibly result in an overall increase in the fidelity of PBIS strategy implementation and a decrease in reported suspensions and expulsions, these include the use of preschool special education professionals on early childhood-based PBIS leadership teams and an increase in the frequency of data collection and analysis. There are also a number of reported barriers, including capacity of early childhood program staff and parental and familial involvement that reportedly inhibit preschool special education professionals from successfully and consistently implementing PBIS in early childhood settings.
    • Adult Identification of Meaningful and Intentional Music Behaviors Demonstrated by Young Children

      Reynolds, Alison (Alison M.); Sheldon, Deborah A., 1958-; Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy; Cromley, Jennifer; Bond, Karen E. (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      The purpose of this research was to investigate how adults identify music behaviors of young children in play-based early childhood settings. The research questions were (1) Are there statistically significant effects of training, parental status, or direction condition on the number of individual musical acts identified by adults? (2) How does response latency vary based on training, parental status, and direction condition? (3) Of the music acts identified by the subjects, what types of music acts are identified as consensus acts (those identified by 75% of subjects or more within any three-second window)? and, (4) How do consensus acts differ with regard to type, frequency, and difficulty? Seventy-two adults (24 child development teachers, 24 early childhood music teachers, and 24 musicians) participated in the study. Of the 24 subjects in each group, half were parents, and half were nonparents. Subjects were randomly assigned equally to two direction conditions: Meaningful Direction Condition and Intentional Direction Condition. Subjects watched video of young children (five to fifteen months old) and adults interacting musically in a play-based early childhood setting. Subjects in the Meaningful Direction Condition pressed the space bar on a computer when they thought any child in the video demonstrated a meaningfully musical behavior; subjects in the Intentional Direction Condition pressed the space bar when they thought any child in the video demonstrated an intentionally musical behavior. When each subject pressed the space bar, a computer program recorded time stamp data. Subjects in the Early Childhood Music Teacher (ECMT) group identified significantly more music behaviors than subjects in the Child Development Teacher (CDT) group and the Musician group. There were no significant differences in the total number of music behaviors identified according to parental status or direction condition. Subjects in the ECMT group agreed statistically significantly more often than adults in the CDT group and the Musician group that behaviors demonstrated by children in the video were music behaviors. Adults in the Parent group agreed statistically significantly more often than adults in the Nonparent group that behaviors demonstrated by children in the video were music behaviors. When adults identify consensus acts, young children's music behaviors contain common features: beat-related movements and vocalizations. Adults in the ECMT group agreed significantly more often than adults in the CDT group and the Musician group that vocalizations demonstrated by young children were music behaviors. Adult ability to identify music behaviors as measured in this study is dependent upon musical training and experience, but not solely. Specialized early childhood music pedagogy may help adults identify behaviors (especially vocalizations) demonstrated by young children as music.

      Fiorello, Catherine A.; Sewards, J. Milo; Boyer, Jean A.; Farley, Frank (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most common injury in childhood, and it is the leading cause of disability. Early childhood is an area of specific interest because it is a period of rather significant vulnerability to longer-standing problems. Better health and behavior-related outcomes generally improve when diagnosis occurs early enough to inform evidence-based interventions adequately. However, there continues to be relatively weak identification of concussions in early childhood, and misdiagnoses often lead children to receive the incorrect intervention if they receive intervention at all. Clinicians need to identify symptoms of a concussion immediately following injury. To this end, the present study examines the literature to determine domains, and any narrow abilities impacted following a concussion. Assessments items were generated based on a review of published norm references tests and task demands analyses (n = 18). Testing items were cross-referenced using developmental literature to ensure they were appropriate for assessment for children age 3 years. Via the Delphi survey method, a heterogeneous panel of experts (Round 1 n = 17; Round 2 n = 13), including physicians, psychologists, school nurses, speech and language pathologists, and athletic trainers, offered their opinion regarding what areas are impacted following a concussion. The panel provided clarification on the operational definitions and agreed that the testing items, indeed, were developmentally appropriate. The group also decided that a paraprofessional could administer the items with minimal training, which is an essential consideration because children in early childhood are often cared for by professionals untrained in assessment, working in daycare or preschool settings. The present study concludes that, indeed, an evaluation of concussions symptoms that are like traditional sideline assessments is possible. However, the results of this assessment are only preliminary, and there was no evidence for validity based on response processes or relations to other variables; likewise, reliability data are unavailable at this time. Recommendations for future research are included, and ideas to move toward standardization are presented. Recommendations for the training of paraprofessionals in these assessment procedures, too, are outlined.
    • Examining Relationships in Head Start: Relations among Risk, Relationships, Child Characteristics, and Social and Academic Outcomes

      Fiorello, Catherine A.; DuCette, Joseph P.; Rotheram-Fuller, Erin; Mendez, Julia L. (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      Quality teacher-child and teacher-parent relationships may function to protect young high-risk children from developing poor social and academic outcomes. The current study uses Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory to conceptualize the relationships between risk, teacher-child and teacher-parent relationship quality, and children's social and academic competence. The objectives of the study were to: a)investigate whether teacher-child and teacher-parent relationship quality moderates the effects of maternal education on children's social and academic competence, and b) examine the associations among child characteristics and teacher-child and teacher-parent relationship quality. Data were collected from 805 Head Start children, their parents, and their classroom teachers. When controlling for children's gender and age, maternal education significantly predicted children's academic outcomes, and teacher-child and teacher-parent relationship quality significantly predicted children's social and academic competence. When controlling for child gender and age, teacher-child closeness and teacher-child conflict moderated the relationship between maternal education and children's letter naming. Child gender was associated with teacher-child closeness and conflict, and child age was associated with teacher-parent relationship quality. Overall, the findings suggest that teacher-child relationship quality may function as both a risk and a protective factor in the development of young high-risk children's outcomes. The results have important implications for research, policy, and practice in promoting school readiness in Head Start children.
    • Informing Vocabulary Interventions using Principles from the Science of Word Learning

      Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy; Weinraub, Marsha; Newcombe, Nora; Gunderson, Elizabeth; Hindman, Annemarie H.; Golinkoff, Roberta M. (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Vocabulary knowledge is essential for children’s reading success (Dickinson & Porche, 2011; Ouellette, 2006). Unfortunately, even before formal schooling begins, glaring differences in language ability exist between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more advantaged peers (Hart & Risley, 1995, Golinkoff et al., 2018; Fernald, Marchman, & Weisleder, 2013). Despite efforts to redress differences in vocabulary knowledge, previous interventions have made little progress (Wasik et al., 2016). Researchers have suggested that the translation of knowledge from the science of word learning to literacy research may be one way to increase the effectiveness of vocabulary instruction (Hassinger-Das et al., 2017). The current study is a vocabulary intervention for preschoolers that employs, and expands upon, principles from the psychology of word learning (that deep word knowledge can be built through semantic networking and through category formation) used in previous projects (Neuman et al., 2011; Neuman & Kaefer, 2018). Specifically, this project assesses if participants who are provided with an advanced organizer that aims to provide a foundation upon which to build richly-connected word knowledge show enhanced learning from the intervention. Results from this dissertation demonstrate that, when comparing two groups who received equivalent vocabulary instruction, the addition of an advanced organizer did not lead to enhanced depth of target word knowledge, categorization ability, or induction ability. However, overall, children in the study made significant gains on categorization ability and depth of target word knowledge. This study offers a first step into how vocabulary researchers might incorporate a foundational component to improve upon interventions.
    • Natural Play, Healthy Play: Environmental Determinants of Young Children's Outdoor Physical Activity

      Sachs, Michael L.; Hineline, Philip Neil; Butcher-Poffley, Lois A.; DuCette, Joseph P. (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      The prevalence of obesity among young children has markedly increased over the past two decades, with more than one-third of American preschoolers now overweight or obese and at risk for lifelong health problems. Physical activity is a recommended obesity prevention strategy, yet preschoolers typically fail to meet recommended daily physical activity guidelines, spending just 15 minutes engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity, compared to six sedentary hours daily. Unstructured play in settings with varied features, such as childcare center playgrounds, potentially plays a significant role in increasing the amount of time preschoolers spend in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The purposes of this study were first, to compare the intensity and type of preschoolers' physical activity across four distinctly different outdoor play settings; second, to identify particular features in each play setting associated with MVPA and sedentary behavior; and, third, to identify, test, and evaluate environmental modifications to increase preschoolers' MVPA in outdoor play settings. Seventeen 3-5 year-old children participated in repeated unstructured play sessions featuring 16 min of play in each of 4 novel settings: a traditional climber, a wooded natural area, a garden, and an adventure, or "loose parts" playground. Interventions to increase physical activity were introduced to the adventure playground during the first two phases, and to all four settings during the third phase. Physical activity intensity was measured using ActiGraph GT3x+ activity monitors and contextual information concerning motor skills was obtained by trained observers using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), adapted to the age and environment of the study. Results show that both play setting design theme and the composition of specific play features within the setting impact the type of motor skills children perform and the amount of MVPA young children accumulate during unstructured play. Findings additionally demonstrate that simple, low-cost modifications to play settings can increase MVPA for targeted subgroups and individual children; outcomes were setting-specific. Study results may be useful to public health and medical workers, parents, educators, playground designers, community planners, and policy makers who focus on increasing preschool children's daily MVPA and decreasing childhood obesity.
    • Promoting Preservice Teachers' Mathematics Identity Exploration

      Newton, Kristie Jones, 1973-; Kaplan, Avi; Ding, Meixia; Lombardi, Doug, 1965- (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      Despite the effort of teacher education programs, early childhood, and elementary preservice teachers often fear mathematics, have high mathematics anxiety, hold negative self-perceptions in relation to mathematics, find mathematics irrelevant, and have low mathematics achievement. The aim of this study was to implement and investigate the influence of an identity exploration intervention on preservice teachers’ identities in mathematics during a required mathematics content course of a teacher education program to provide insight into the patterns of change in identity and motivation towards mathematics. Twenty-four preservice teachers focusing on either early childhood education or non-mathematics secondary education were included in this study from a college algebra course specifically designed for education majors. Data collection included surveys, identity-related worksheets, identity exploration tasks, reflective writing assignments, interviews, and observations. Data was analyzed using the Dynamics Systems Model of Role-Identity and the principles for promoting identity exploration (Kaplan, 2014). This model highlights the interaction between self-perceptions, beliefs, purposes and goals, and actions. Analysis led to identification of patterns of change in student role identities and themes across cases that highlight the differences in change between the early childhood participants and secondary education participants, the influence of initial identity, and the impact of perceived relevance on identity exploration. This study contributes to the understanding of identity exploration in a mathematical setting and discusses future directions of research in promotion of identity exploration in preservice teachers.
    • (Re) Constructing the Subject: A Strategic Model for Acquisition of Africana Liberation Through Children's Books

      Mazama, Ama, 1961-; Asante, Molefi Kete, 1942- (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)
      Children of African descent gather information about the world from various sources such as school, television, toys, and books. This research focuses specifically on books as an educational tool. The dominant focus of this work is to evaluate the ideas communicated to black children in books. Additionally, this is an Afrocentric work that is invested in black children's books that teach black children to resist white supremacy by achieving academic excellence, valuing their African culture, and having high self-esteem. Ultimately, these acts will lead children of African descent to reach their full potential. However, this cannot be done if the books read to and by black children have negative or minimal depictions of black people. To this point, this work demonstrates the efficacy of constructive representations of black people in children's books. It also examines how the authors' and illustrators' views about blackness are conveyed throughout the books. The ramifications of negative or positive ideas about black people illustrated in children's books are powerful and must be analyzed critically. This thesis explains why and how reading for black children should be utilized as a resource for development.

      Rotheram-Fuller, Erin; Fiorello, Catherine A.; DuCette, Joseph P.; Farley, Frank; Soundy, Cathleen S. (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      In comparison to school age special education practices, preschool special education practices have received far less attention in the research community. Each year in the United States, over 250,000 preschool age children are determined to exhibit developmental delay. It is unknown how many of them exhibit developmental delay in the area of social emotional functioning and what is the educational placement in which they received special education services. In this study, a national sample of school psychologists (n=119) who practice in early childhood settings was surveyed with regard to their assessment and educational placement practices. Results indicated that more school psychologists chose the regular education setting as opposed to separate classroom for placement of children with social and developmental delays. However, when placement options were grouped by settings it became evident that overall more preschoolers with social and emotional delays receive services in non-inclusive settings. Assessment factors as opposed to program factors were most influential on placement decisions. Observation in the educational setting was found to be the primary assessment tool in both assessment of social emotional competencies and in contributing to placement decisions. School psychologists reported annual monitoring of placement decisions and no correlation between the frequency of monitoring and the psychologists' perceived quality and efficacy of programming was found. Possible explanations and the associated implications of the study's findings are discussed.
    • Webs of Interactions: International Perspectives on Cultural Music Mediation Among Adults and Young Children

      Reynolds, Alison (Alison M.); Bolton, Beth M.; Zohn, Steven David, 1966-; Latham, Edward David (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)
      In this qualitative phenomenological inquiry, I explore how an international group of early childhood music teachers describe creating music-learning environments for young children. As members of the Early Childhood Music Education Commission of the International Society for Music Education, the nine research participants share a common interest in contributing to early childhood music education. I was interested in understanding how members of that group perceived creating music-learning environments for young children. I wondered: What are early childhood music teachers' perceptions of music-learning environments for young children; What shapes their perceptions; and How do early childhood music teachers strive to create an environment conducive for young children's music learning? Using tenets of narrative inquiry, I restory this study as a conversation in a coffee shop. Imagine there's an international early childhood music conference in your town. During a conference break, I walk into your favorite coffee shop. You stand in a long line waiting to order. I walk in and take my place behind you in line, and we begin a conversation about children's music learning. Eventually, colleagues who are attending the conference (i.e., the nine research participants) join us. During our conversation, you and I discuss our experiences with understanding and creating early childhood music-learning environments. Next, we talk with the nine research participants about how they create music-learning environments for young children and I reveal the essence of their shared experience: participants view themselves as cultural music mediators, believing it is their job to mediate music interactions among adults and young children. Finally, you and I discuss implications for parents, early childhood music teachers, early childhood general education teachers, and pre-service music and general education teachers. We talk about ways they can become cultural music mediators, and create webs of music interactions for adults and young children. After reading this study, I invite you to visit my Facebook page, Music-Learning Environments for Young Children, to contribute thoughts and questions.