Date of Conferral







Donna Brackin


The threat of an active shooter is something early childhood educators need to prepare for, but a literature review regarding active shooter drills indicated a gap in the research focused on the perceptions the early childhood educators. Using a conceptual lens based on developmentally appropriate practice and the developmental theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, this qualitative case study aimed to explore the perceptions of early childhood educators on the current model of active shooter drills and the developmental appropriateness of these drills when used with an early childhood population. The participants were early childhood educators familiar with their school’s emergency plan who had experienced at least one active shooter drill in their classroom. Data were collected through semistructured interviews and then analyzed using a 6-phase thematic analysis. Key findings indicate early childhood educators received the required professional development about the drills but desired more training and preparation; educators believe the drills mostly focus on procedures, did not address their students’ developmental or emotional needs, and were not stressful for the students; early childhood educators also reported a perceived expectation for them to address these developmental needs during the drills, incorporate multiple strategies to support their students, increase communication with families, and struggle with determining what information to share with their students in their role as an educator. These findings invite positive social change by encouraging school districts to alter the current training early childhood educators receive and possibly altering the design of these drills to include developmentally appropriate strategies.