Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Access Restriction

Campus Access only dissertations

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Marta Baltodano, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Reilly, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Ani Shabazian, Ph.D.

Abstract

Educational reforms have created a climate of accountability and high academic pressure that has resulted in a pushing down of the curriculum into early childhood education. Once a prominent pedagogical feature, play is disappearing from kindergarten. The following is a doctoral dissertation that studied administrator, teacher, and parent perceptions of play and its role within the kindergarten curriculum at a Catholic elementary school in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Using a qualitative case study method, the study noted how play was utilized in transitional kindergarten and traditional kindergarten classrooms at the school site. Interviews, classroom observations, and document review of school publications contributed to the following findings: play was used as a reward for classroom management, adults did not commonly see the connection between play and learning, and academic achievement was valued over play. These findings were placed in the larger context of kindergarten, play, and curriculum by using a theoretical framework built on Early Child Education theories and Epstein’s (2011) Parental Involvement framework. This case study highlighted factors that influenced curriculum design and implementation in kindergarten. It contributes to the effort to inform parents, teachers, administrators, and policy makers of the importance of defending play within kindergarten in light of social pressures that favor a didactic kindergarten setting.

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