Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Creative ability in children; Creative thinking in children; Early childhood education; Thought and thinking--Study and teaching;


The purpose of this study was to examine preschool teachers’ beliefs and actions associated with creative pedagogy. This study partially replicated a study by Cheung (2017) and allowed for comparisons among American, Greek, and Chinese preschool teachers. This qualitative study used case studies to examine preschool teachers’ beliefs related to the definition of creativity, effective creative pedagogy, and contextual factors related to promoting creativity. Participants included three preschool teachers in rural settings in the Midwestern United States. Data included an initial interview, the completion of the Early Childhood Creative Pedagogy Questionnaire (Cheung & Leung, 2013), two lesson observations, and reflection interviews after each lesson. The following research questions guided the study:

1) What constitutes creative practice in preschool classrooms?

2) What kinds of creativity-fostering pedagogies are used in preschool classrooms?

3) What contextual factors do teachers report that support or impede efforts to promote creativity in their classrooms?

This study revealed teachers experienced difficulty defining creativity and articulating specific strategies conducive to creative pedagogy. Also evident was a lack of congruence between teacher beliefs about creativity and actual classroom practices. Teachers deemed the curriculum supportive of addressing creativity, but recognized barriers in the academic push in early childhood and lack of knowledge of the importance of play. Findings suggest an operational rather than conceptual definition of creativity may be practical for early childhood teachers, and a need for training related to creative pedagogy. Findings also revealed teachers need others (parents, administrators, colleagues, and the community) to understand how the use of play and creativity support the development of young children to advocate for and support creative thinking. Additionally, at the teacher preparation level, exploring creativity and addressing creative pedagogy is an essential emphasis in early childhood curriculum courses.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Teaching

First Advisor

Beth Van Meeteren, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 191 pages)



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