Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Terri L. Edwards


Early childhood (EC) teacher education programs and public-school partnerships have broadened preparation of preservice teachers by providing more learning opportunities during preservice field experiences. These experiences require mentoring from highly qualified supervising teachers. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore mentors’ perspectives of their qualifications to mentor EC preservice teachers in a 4-year university laboratory school. Ambrosetti’s theory of mentor preparation guided this study. The research question addressed mentor teachers’ perspectives of their mentoring qualifications for EC preservice teachers. A snowball sample of 8 mentor teachers, with at least 4 years’ experience mentoring EC preservice teachers, volunteered to participate in this study. Semistructured interview data were analyzed thematically using open and axial coding strategies to develop themes. Participants stated that building relationships with and creating a secure learning climate for preservice teachers, plus possessing mentoring knowledge are necessary in the mentoring role. All participants agreed that building communication skills with preservice teachers was an area they needed support from school administrators and professors in EC teacher preparation programs. It is recommended that administrators and professors offer training to develop EC mentors’ knowledge, dispositions, and skills of mentoring and these components are delineated in the qualifications for the role of mentor teacher. This endeavor could contribute to positive social change if stakeholders provide mentor teachers with opportunities to develop their knowledge, dispositions, and skills that enhances their mentoring qualifications to prepare effective EC teachers.