Date of this Version
Journal of Research in Childhood Education (2017) 31(3): 360-378. DOI: 10.1080/02568543.2017.1309480.
The current study examined (1) associations among teachers’ experiences regarding children with disabilities (i.e., education, specialized training, years of work experience), their attitudes toward disabilities, and their classroom practices in relation to inclusion and (2) associations among children’s attitudes toward peers with disabilities and child and teacher factors. Ninety-one 4- and 5-year-old children participated in an interview, and their teachers completed a survey. Teachers’ specialized training and bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (ECE) were positively associated with their inclusive practices in the classroom; teachers’ bachelor’s degree in ECE and experiences working with children with disabilities were positively associated with their attitudes toward disabilities and inclusion; and children’s perceived contact with people who have disabilities was positively associated their attitudes toward peers with disabilities. However, none of the teacher factors predicted children’s attitudes toward peers with disabilities. Early childhood teachers need more training opportunities to learn about disabilities to develop positive attitudes toward disabilities and inclusion. Providing frequent contact with people with disabilities may enhance children’s acceptance of peers with disabilities.
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