A case study of a character education / anti-bullying curriculum and teacher perceptions in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten

Wong, Kenton Sao Wah
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
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This paper explores the serious issue of bullying in school settings and reports on a descriptive case study of IM4U, a character education curriculum, in an early childhood education setting. IM4U addresses the social and emotional development of young children. The case study includes an examination of teacher perceptions regarding the use of the program as an anti-bullying curriculum. Results from the data allowed the researcher to conclude that pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students had developed core values to varying degrees and that teaching character education in early education has positive effects on students' core value development. Findings also demonstrated that bullying, including physical, verbal, and emotional, is a problem in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. The research also raises questions about the concept of "bullying behaviors" as it applies to children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Teacher perceptions and impressions of the IM4U program indicated that they supported the overall idea and concept of a curriculum addressing bullying behaviors and felt that songs, activities, and discussions effectively influenced students' thoughts and behaviors; however, teachers believed the curriculum was more appropriate for older students and suggested making the curriculum more age appropriate for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Further, with such programs, a proactive approach and comprehensive professional development including follow-up engagements to support the implementation of the curriculum and the use of program materials is recommended. The absence of assessment instruments within the program should be addressed in addition to identifying language and terminology regarding bullying which is more applicable to early education settings. This short-term study builds upon the research base on the social and emotional development in early education and recommends that more long-term and longitudinal studies of larger student populations be conducted. Such studies could provide additional evidence of the effects of character education and anti-bullying programs on student outcomes including the earliest grades.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Character Education, Anti-Bullying, Early Education
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Education.
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