Lorraine Ricchezza

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Meredith Brown, Corine


Preschool teachers


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


This dissertation examines an educator's disposition to positively impact children's cognitive and social emotional development in the preschool setting as evidenced in child centered practices that arouse curiosity, foster social interaction, and promote children's learning as expressed in interpersonal interactions that affirm differences among young children in an urban preschool setting. Through examination and interpretation, this study delineates educator perspectives on child differences and reciprocal relationships as integral to developmentally appropriate practice. Seven female educators at the ABC Elementary School in Urban City, New Jersey participated in this study. This study involved key data sources. During 8 months of data collection, educators participated in individual interviews, focus group dialogue, and reflective conversations. Classroom observations revealed evidence of pedagogy and reciprocal interactions. As supplemental data, relevant classroom documents were also reviewed. The data sources were triangulated to identify recurring patterns in alignment to the overarching research concern. Although the educators articulate the value of child-centered pedagogy in the context of nurturing preschool learners, the evidence reveals divergent classroom practices suggesting a greater need for early childhood communities of practice to act in ensuring educators possess child development knowledge and therefore embrace differences with heightened sensitivity to diverse preschool learners.