Date of Conferral







Kimberley Alkins


Despite the use of professional development (PD), early childhood inclusive teachers lack the knowledge and skills needed to support students with disabilities. It was unclear what types of PD teachers have received and what supports they still need. If teachers lack PD and the skills needed to teach students with disabilities effectively, then student progress may be negatively affected. The purpose of this basic qualitative research study and the research questions were to understand early childhood inclusive general education teachers’ perceptions of past PD experiences of working with students with disabilities and what supports they need to implement evidence-based practices. The conceptual frameworks were Knowles’s adult learning theory and Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory. Purposeful and snowball sampling were used to recruit 12 early childhood general education inclusive teachers to take part in responsive interviews. Thematic coding was used to analyze the data. Results demonstrated the teachers lack effective PD and administration support; and teachers prefer if PD was relevant, interactive, collaborative, and led by experienced providers who follow-up with participants. These findings confirm previous research on PD. The findings also extend previous findings by identifying the perceptions of PD early childhood inclusive teachers in one school district, acknowledging that intervisitations is a valued PD practice held by teachers, and highlighting that families should be included in PD to offer further collaboration among stakeholders. This study contributes to positive social change as leaders can use the information to design more effective PD, so teachers can be more prepared to support students with disabilities, which can lead to greater learning outcomes for students.