Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Thompson, Carol

Committee Member 1

Kowalsky, Michelle

Committee Member 2

Isik-Ercan, Zeynep


Constructivism, Prekindergarten Students, Self-Efficacy, Self-Regulation, Social Cognitive Theory


Education, Preschool; Preschool teachers; Preschool children


Early Childhood Education


The purpose of this study was to understand prekindergarten teacher perceptions of self-regulation and to investigate how prekindergarten students regulate their learning.

Research entailed video recorded observations of prekindergarten students engaged in social-cognitive behaviors during centers. The Creative Curriculum - one of several State recommended programs for prekindergarten - provided the foundational guidelines for teachers to incorporate into daily lessons - one of which is for students to play in organized centers. Naturalistic observations were conducted in five-minute intervals per student and coded according to The Play Observation Scale. During play, students' activities were coded according to interaction with peers (e.g., solitary, parallel or group) and interaction with the environment (e.g., constructive, dramatic or exploration). In addition, the classroom teacher participants were interviewed using a semi-structured format. At the conclusion of the study, they had the opportunity to provide details on self-regulation, prekindergarten students, instructional practice, and curriculum.

The results of the study show that prekindergarten students were able to self-regulate by choosing a center, setting a goal and engaging in play either independently or with a peer. The organized centers encouraged specific types of play, where the predominant behaviors observed involved building structures (constructive) or engaging in pretend play (dramatic). Although the teachers of the three prekindergarten classrooms were not familiar with current terminology, they did believe that Creative Curriculum provided the necessary learning environment for students to self-regulate, gain a sense of self-efficacy, and develop a foundation for future academic success. Through teacher modeling, scaffolding, reinforcement and a structured classroom environment, prekindergarten students did apply the acquired knowledge into practice.