Date of Award

Spring 2013

Project Type


Program or Major

Early Childhood: Special Needs

Degree Name

Master of Education

First Advisor

Leslie J Couse


Early childhood educators often may struggle to find appropriate responses to rough-and-tumble play due to its unpredictable and risky nature. This case study examines the challenge of how two early childhood special educators in two inclusive public preschool classrooms make decisions about rough-and-tumble play for 4-year-old children. The stories presented are descriptive and based in an ecological context. Through the triangulation of interview, anecdotal observations, and frequency counts, three major themes of Teacher Beliefs, Context, and Teacher Reflection and Awareness emerged, illustrating the complex phenomenon of teacher response to rough-and-tumble play in inclusive settings. Analysis of the data revealed that inclusive preschool teachers utilize methods that support language, peer interaction, physical growth and safety when guiding young children with special needs in rough-and-tumble play interactions.