Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Manning, JoAnn

Committee Member 1

Johnson, Ane Turner

Committee Member 2

Seplocha, Holly


Focus Groups, Preschool, Resilience


Resilience (Personality trait); Preschool teaching


Early Childhood Education


The purposes of this qualitative single case study were to (a) understand the meaning of resilience through the lens of preschool teachers working in an elementary school in a small urban district and (b) to explore the impact of engaging preschool teachers in professional discourse with their colleagues regarding pedagogical practices that foster resilient behaviors in their students. Using focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and graphic elicitations this study discovered the meaning of resilience through descriptions of preschool teachers' understandings, perceptions, and teaching practices. Key findings indicate teachers viewed resilience in terms of the ability to persevere and recover in times of adversity through the development of social-emotional skills, trusting relationships and hopeful thinking. Findings also indicate preschool teachers' understandings were impacted by varying levels of trauma they experienced in their personal and professional lives. Lastly, findings indicate teachers engaged in professional development gained a deeper understanding of how their current teaching practices directly connect to pedagogy that nurtures the development of resilient behaviors in preschool students. This study offers a perspective on how to create an educational change that would empower students with the skills needed to develop into successful and contributing members of society.