Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Jolyn Blank, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ilene Berson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sophia Han, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.


Early Childhood Education, Collaborative Teaching, Team Teaching


Co-teaching is a highly complex phenomenon where two teachers work together in some capacity. Co-teaching is an accepted practice in preschools across the United States to meet state licensing standards and state ratios. There is a paucity of research done on this topic in preschool classrooms in the United States. The purpose of this study is to explore co- teaching relationships in preschool classrooms. This study was guided by three research questions: What are teachers’ notions about co-teaching? What are co-teachers’ experiences working in preschool classrooms? How does care manifest in co-teaching relationships? This study delves into the ways in which co-teaching is manifested in three preschool classrooms in a campus laboratory preschool and works to discover discrepancies between teachers’ notions of co-teaching and their experiences and how school culture impacts co-teaching. The findings illustrate how complex and complicated co-teaching relationships can be and discusses in depth the many ways the three teaching teams studied in this dissertation struggled to create a positive, supportive co-teaching relationship build on friendship and caring for one another. The findings of this study indicate how critically important it is that early childhood centers support and provide a framework with which those working in co-teaching relationships can utilize. Despite the achievements and strengths co-teaching can bring to the overall success of early childhood classrooms, teachers in this study needed more support to fully reach the potential.