A KINDERGARTEN TEACHER’S LITERACY IN PLAY BELIEFS AND PRACTICES IN RELATION TO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES BASED ON NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

Open Access
Author:
Dean, Patricia Kay
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
March 17, 2005
Committee Members:
  • James Ewald Johnson, Committee Chair
  • Dr Miryam Espinosa Dulanto, Committee Member
  • Daniel Dean Hade, Committee Member
  • Dr John Tippeconnic, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • full day kindergarten
  • play and literacy
  • emergent literacy
  • early c hildhood education
  • writing
  • play
Abstract:
ABSTRACT The account of this kindergarten teacher offers a window into the thoughts and actions of a veteran who reflects on her practice for the purpose of continually growing as a professional. Over more than 20 years, Ms. D has learned to foster a community of learners by engaging children each day through songs, stories, personal connections, Author’s Chair, and other means. After careful modeling, Ms. D encourages the children to take responsibility for daily classroom routines such as attendance and lunch count. The children are a part of the decision-making process in the workings of the classroom and are given power to make choices in much of their kindergarten work. They also have a strong voice in planning the play areas and choosing writing topics and reading selections based on what is happening in their lives. This case study investigated this kindergarten teacher’s practices and beliefs about literacy in play during the 2002-2003 school year. As a conscientious practitioner and life-long learner, Ms. D sought numerous professional development experiences to enhance her teaching practices. She shared her story of how she teaches literacy in her full day kindergarten class and what the role of play is in the teaching of literacy. Moreover, she reflected on changes in her beliefs and practices resulting from being challenged by professional development activities designed in the wake of the federal legislation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (NCLB). Some of these practices were in direct conflict with her philosophies. During the summer following the study she made adaptations to her practices, keeping the strategies learned from the workshops that she found advantageous to young children, and deleting or modifying those that were not satisfactory. Hence, her long established professional disposition to be reflective, sooner or later, on her teaching practices helped her to eventually realign her practices to her beliefs.