Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Joshua Bass


AbstractEarly Childhood and Care Education (ECCE) educators are expected to understand the role of play and implement play in their classrooms, but specific classes on the role of play at the college level are not offered. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to examine the perspectives of full-time ECCE faculty at a Southeastern state technical college teaching preservice teachers to determine their students’ understanding of the role of play, the inclusion of play in their lesson plans, and how play is being implemented in their classrooms. The conceptual framework guiding the study was Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development. Young children construct their knowledge best through play, so having preservice teachers engaged in a course on the role of play could inform them how to effectively support, facilitate, and implement play in their classroom to create zones of proximal development as an age appropriate instructional strategy. The key research question guiding this study focused upon the perspectives of full-time ECCE faculty about the role of play in the ECCE curriculum. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with a population of 12 full-time ECCE faculty from 6 technical colleges in the research state to develop an understanding of full-time ECCE faculty’s perspectives about teaching the concept of play to preservice teachers. Data codes were analyzed for regularities, patterns, and themes. Themes that emerged were a Low Percentage of Play in Curriculum, Play is Learning & Development, Play is an Effective Instructional Strategy, and Play is Important in the ECCE environment. This study can inform positive social change by contributing to the literature, the field of early childhood, and, at the local level, by informing potential curriculum adjustments or other possible changes in the preparation of ECCE preservice teachers in the local setting.