Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Judith J. Ivarie


With passage of P.L. 99-457 educators in the United States are going to need to take a very close look at early childhood special education. There will be many new programs beginning in areas where teachers and administrators may be poorly informed. Early childhood special education is effective,but an examination of what part of these programs make it effective needs to be addressed. This study examined how a teachers theoretical orientation toward teaching can affect their preschool special education classroom environment. The environment was evaluated by a section on a survey in which points were accumulated for different environmental factors in the classroom. There were significant differences in the mean scores of the classroom environmental survey. There was a difference (p .05) between teachers who had taught one to five years and those who had taught six to ten years. The other area in which there was a significant difference was related to the teacher's age. Teachers in the age range of 26-30 had a significantly lower mean score when compared to teachers age 31-40. Ninety-one percent of the educators considered themselves developmental learning theorists. Therefore,there was no difference between teachers theories and their mean scores of their environment. The study concluded that environment, philosophy and other aspects of early childhood special education need further study before new programs for learners are begun.