ERIC Number: ED443549
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Principals and Play: A Qualitative Study of Administrator Beliefs about the Place of Play in K-2 Programs.
Smith, Kenneth E.; Smith, Mary K.
Noting that the quality of early childhood education (ECE) programs offered in public schools is directly affected by the understanding of and value placed on such a program by the building principal, this qualitative study examined principals' understanding and beliefs about children's play and its place in K-2 early childhood programs. Phase 1 of the study involved gathering group survey data on general beliefs about ECE. Findings from Phase 1 suggested that the administrators scored high on the developmentally appropriate practice scale (DAP) and low on the traditional practices (TRAD) scale. Phase 2 involved the selection of four participants representing four belief types: (1) low DAP, high TRAD beliefs; (2) high DAP, low TRAD; (3) high DAP, high TRAD; and (4) low DAP, low TRAD. Individual hour-long interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. The overriding theme emerging from the transcripts was that the principals overestimated their level of expertise about children's play and displayed unwarranted confidence in their ability to deal with issues regarding its role in ECE. Principals lacked relevant preparation and experience, lacked specific knowledge about play, and lacked understanding about its curricular role. (Contains 65 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).