Date of Graduation

Fall 2010


Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development


Early Childhood and Family Development

Committee Chair

Joanna Cemore Brigden


Continuous care, early childhood education, parent perspectives, teacher perspectives, instructional design

Subject Categories

Child Psychology


This study examined the perceptions of teachers and parents of children ages birth to 5 years old, involved in continuous care classrooms within a child care setting. The teachers, children, and parents shared the classroom environments for at least two consecutive years. Previous research, from Hedge and Cassidy (2004) and Hitz, Somers and Jenlink (2007), has revealed significant benefits to the continuous relationships built in the early childhood classroom during multiple years of instruction. The attitudes and perceptions of the relationships within the classroom's instructional design were assessed by both parents and teachers using questionnaires and interviews. A total of nine parents and nine teachers completed interviews; while thirty-four parents and fifteen teachers completed questionnaires. This study used both quantitative survey data and phenomenological methods to examine the teachers and parents on the relationships within the continuous care classroom. The goal of this study was to investigate the perceptions of teachers and parents within the continuous care classrooms. Mostly positive themes were found in interviews and surveys of parents and teachers in this study. Parents and teachers reported the relationships in the continuous care classroom were strong, with the level of communication as a foundation in the classroom. Parents and teachers did have challenges with the continuous care classrooms when there were communication difficulties or conflicted personalities. The findings suggest that teachers and parents have an overall positive perception of the continuous care classroom, and count on strong communication to overcome challenges within this setting.


© Jami Louise Swindell

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