Date of Conferral







Donald Yarosz


The amount of time that children spend in child-directed activity can increase the frequency and quality of teacher–child interactions, which can decrease challenging behavior in children. The problem is that preschool children are being expelled and suspended at a high rate, and additional research is required to examine the prevention of behaviors that lead to expulsion and suspension. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine whether the percentage of the day that children spend in child-directed learning stations, the quality of activities offered during child-initiated time, and the education level of the lead teacher predict classroom suspensions or expulsions. The theoretical framework for the research involved Piaget’s child development theory and Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development. A quantitative method was used to examine the predictive relationship between the percentage of the day spent in child-initiated learning activities, the quality of the child-initiated activities offered, and the teacher qualifications in a classroom and the number of expulsions and suspensions in a child care program. A sample of 39 preschool classrooms licensed by the Office of Children and Family Services were selected for inclusion. A significant correlation between suspensions and expulsions indicated that the more programs suspend students, the more likely they were to expel students. A stepwise regression indicated that neither of the 2 independent variables was found to be a statistically significant predictor in the models for either suspension or expulsion. Further research is recommended with a larger sample. This study may lead to positive social change by informing stakeholders on ways to prevent challenging behaviors and informing future research on this topic.