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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Rachelle Hackett

First Committee Member

Delores McNair

Second Committee Member

Amy Scott


In an effort to ensure high quality early childhood education, curriculum reform has been implemented for over one decade in Shanghai kindergartens (specifically, since 2004). The reform guidelines largely align with the principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) issued by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in the United States, which served as the conceptual framework of this study. This study aimed to develop a better understanding of kindergarten teachers’ beliefs and practice of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) in Shanghai in the context of educational reform, the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and their practice, and whether the type of school (public versus private) moderates the belief-practice relationship. Applying a correlational research design, this study measured kindergarten teachers’ beliefs and practices by the instrument of Teacher Beliefs and Practices Survey (three to five-year-olds) (Chinese version, by Wang, Elicker, McMullen, & Mao, 2008). Respondents from both public ( n = 111) and private ( n = 71) kindergartens in Shanghai completed this survey. Findings suggested that teachers endorsed both appropriate and inappropriate beliefs and engaged in both appropriate and inappropriate practices (as defined by DAP principles), but with significantly higher levels of endorsement in appropriate (as compared to inappropriate) beliefs and engagement in appropriate (as compared to inappropriate) practices. Teachers’ beliefs and practices were reported to be moderately positively correlated, implying that their practices tend to reflect their beliefs. School type was not found to moderate the belief-practice relationship; however, public and private school teachers, on average, differed in their levels of endorsing appropriate and inappropriate beliefs, and the levels at which they engage in appropriate practices (but not inappropriate practices, with the Bonferroni adjustment applied to control the Type I error rate). Public kindergarten teachers were higher, on average, for all four subscales. Implications are discussed along with suggestions for further research.





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