Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

Whitmore, Kathryn F.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Chisholm, James

Committee Member

Chisholm, James

Committee Member

Foster, Michele

Committee Member

Sheridan, Mary P.

Committee Member

Schmidt, Renita

Author's Keywords

early childhood education; pedagogy; reggio emilia; reconceptualizing early childhood education; urban education; feminist methodologies


The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education is an innovative and often imitated “way of being” with young children (Rinaldi, 2006). Reggio-inspired teachers enact rich pedagogical stances in their work with young children. In North American contexts, the approach is frequently associated with wealthy, suburban communities. Adopting a feminist methodology, this dissertation explores the pedagogical moves one teacher made as she enacted the identity of a Reggio teacher in an urban preschool classroom. The theoretical framework guiding this study is grounded in feminist poststructural, postmodern, and decolonization scholarship, each of which inform a movement known as Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE). RECE works to disrupt assumptions about children, childhood, and early educators, providing counternarratives to deficit perspectives often associated with children of color, their families, neighborhoods, and teachers. This dissertation argues for reconceptualizing the teacher’s role as she enacts pedagogies that create spaces for children to demonstrate their myriad competencies and suggests that feminist methodologies result in more equitable researcher-participant relationships.