All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lois Christensen

Advisory Committee Members

John Dantzler

Robin Ennis

Kelly Hill

Jennifer Kilgo

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2020

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the attitudes and beliefs of early childhood teachers in the southeast United States towards creating inclusive environments for families headed by same-sex parents. In an effort to better understand these perspectives, the researcher examined the types of professional development offered, available resources, and school attitudes in this area. Three research questions guided this study, including: (a) How do early childhood teachers describe their personal beliefs about families headed by same-sex parents? (b) How do early childhood teachers describe inclusive practices in their classrooms and schools? (c) How do early childhood teachers describe the barriers that they face in promoting the inclusivity and visibility of families headed by same-sex parents? Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted to better understand participants’ experiences with families headed by same-sex couples, as well as barriers faced in promoting full inclusion of these families. A survey instrument was utilized to gain insight into the types of professional development offered, the resources that available to participants, and school attitudes and beliefs towards promoting inclusivity and diversity. Participants for the semi-structured interviews included five early childhood teachers from elementary schools within one school district in the southeast United States, while 20 early childhood teachers from the same district participated in the electronic survey. Based on the analysis of the data, three themes emerged from this study regarding the participants’ perspectives on creating inclusive environments for families headed by same-sex couples, which were (a) challenges, (b) welcoming environments, and (c) personal beliefs. In addition, 10 sub-themes were identified as emergent regarding the experiences and perspectives of the participants. Findings from this research revealed the many challenges that participants have confronted or perceived they would confront in creating inclusive environments for families headed by same-sex couples. Furthermore, the results of this study provided several implications for early childhood teachers, administrators, and teacher preparation programs. This study contributed to the limited research in regard to the experiences of early childhood teachers in creating inclusive environments for families headed by same-sex couples. Finally, recommendations for future research were discussed.

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