Date of Graduation

Summer 2011


Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development


Early Childhood and Family Development

Committee Chair

Joanna Cemore Brigden


conflict resolution, moral development, very young children, group care setting, classroom ethnography

Subject Categories

Child Psychology


Current studies on classroom use of conflict resolution strategies indicate links between the use of such strategies and the enrichment of several developmental domains, particularly socio-emotional and cognitive (Allen, 2009; Heydenberk, Heydenberk, & Bailey, 2003; Schellenberg, Parks-Savage, and Rehfuss, 2007; Vestal and Jones, 2004). However, little attention has been given to the possible links of these strategies to children's moral development or to the use of these strategies with very young children. The current study used an ethnographic design to gain a deeper understanding of the possible implications of conflict resolution in a group care setting of eight one and two-year-olds. Audio recordings, video recordings and field notes of normal classroom functions were used to investigate (1) what conflict resolution techniques were used and how it looked in the toddler group care setting, (2) the overall classroom culture or tone, (3) how the classroom culture helped or hindered the conflict resolution techniques used, and (4) how the conflict resolution techniques effected the moral development of the participants. While it is beyond the scope of this project to show definitive positive relationship between conflict resolution's use in the classroom and moral development, data shows that skills related to moral development were emerging at an earlier age level than past theories suggest possible while using data to explicitly describe the setting and the use of conflict resolution.


© Rachel Leigh Pachmayr

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