School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Rebecca M. Lunde


early childhood education, professional development, collaboration, preschool, kindergarten, professional growth


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine early childhood teachers’ experiences in collaboration practices to support teacher professional development in three early childhood schools in Central New Jersey. The theory guiding this study was social cognitive theory by Bandura (1986), which focuses on learning through observations and social interactions. Bandura’s theory aligned with the study and revealed how collaborative opportunities are utilized as an approach to help teachers learn from each other and develop professionally. However, specific activities underlying the professional development of teachers during the collaborative sessions need more exploration. The research included data regarding early childhood educators’ experiences in collaboration relating to professional development and teacher perceptions of the quality of these collaborative experiences that influence their professional growth. The study consisted of individual, semi-structured face-to-face interviews, focus group sessions, and a questionnaire. The narrative data was analyzed and categorized by three themes: (1) Professional Growth Opportunities, (2) Culture, and (3) Need for Differentiated Professional Development. The findings relative to the sample size suggest that the types of collaborative opportunities early childhood teachers participate impact the degree of professional growth teachers experience.