The purpose of this research is to study the receiving special education teacher’s perception of the transition process for students with identified disabilities exiting preschool and entering kindergarten. The study utilizes case study methodology to support the creation of rich descriptions (Merriam, 1998) of contemporary kindergarten transition practices and the relationships formed during the process (Yin, 2003). The study, set within a single Maryland school district, employs three methods of data collection: online questionnaire; two-part, semistructured interview; and follow-up telephone interviews. Of the 31 respondents who completed the online questionnaire, 7 also participated in the interview.
This study places itself deep within the notions of pedagogical and programmatic alignment by utilizing The Ecological and Dynamic Model of Transition (Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 2000) as a conceptual frame. The study results illustrate in detail the process through which students with identified disabilities transition from preschool into kindergarten within an exemplary model in the state of Maryland. Although the descriptive nature of the study does not allow direct comparisons to national data sets, such as the Pre-elementary Education Longitudinal Study (NCSER, 2003) and NCEDL’s National Transition Practices Survey (NCEDL, 1996), data from the current study indicate a considerably higher percentage of receiving kindergarten special educators use high-intensity strategies throughout the select school district than those reported in the national data sets. Through the perspective of the receiving kindergarten special educator, the study highlights: exemplary practices at the district, building, and individual student level; highlights the key role the receiving special educator plays in transition, notes barriers teachers faced; and provides evidence of the important role that relationship building between the adults involved in the kindergarten transition process plays by adding directly to the quality of the transition process for individual students with disabilities.
|Advisor:||Freund, Maxine B.|
|Commitee:||Shotel, Jay, Swayze, Susan|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Early childhood education, Elementary education, Special education|
|Keywords:||Disabilities, Elementary school transition, Kindergarten, Relationships, Special education, Teacher|
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