Stakeholder perspectives of early childhood inclusion: a phenomenological study of parents of children without disabilities

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carol Welch Jordan (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Mary Compton

Abstract: Decades of extensive research promoting the value of the inclusion of children with disabilities in classrooms and programs with typically developing children or children without identified disabilities supports inclusion as a best practice in early childhood education (Bailey, McWilliam, Buysse, & Wesley, 1998; DEC/NAEYC, 2009, Odom, Buysse, & Soukakou, 2011; Stahmer & Carter, 2005). Previous research confirms the value of parents participating in inclusive early childhood programs as stakeholders in programs enacting inclusion (Deiner, 2013; Soodak et al., 2002). As the majority of preschool-aged children with disabilities are educated in separate settings (U.S. Department of Education, 2013), continued examination of stakeholder perspectives remains a priority. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to gain insight into the current perspectives of parents of young children without disabilities related to their experiences as participants in inclusive early childhood programs. Open-ended exploratory interviews were conducted with nine parents of children without disabilities enrolled in one of three private and community-based early childhood programs that include children with disabilities in preschool classrooms. Analysis of interview data provided descriptions of the participants’ perspectives about inclusion and the children included in classrooms with their children without disabilities. The experiences reported by participants in these programs and themes emerging from these accounts, provide insight into avenues and barriers towards full inclusion in early childhood classrooms. Following the results of these interviews, this study addresses future directions for research and implications for professionals in the field of early childhood education.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Early Childhood, Inclusion, Marginalization, Parent Perspectives, Phenomenology, Qualitative
Children with disabilities $x Education (Early childhood)
Children with disabilities $x Education (Preschool)
Inclusive education
Parents $x Attitudes
Discrimination in education
Marginality, Social

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