Teachers' Schedules and Actual Time Spent in Activities in Preschool Special Education Classes

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Preparing a schedule for classroom activities is an important component of most successful educational programs. However, such preparation is only as effective as its implementation in the classroom. The purpose of this study was to compare teachers' schedules of classroom activities and direct observations of children's actual participation in those activities. Schedules of classroom activities and direct observation of actual activities, using the Ecobehavioral System for the Complex Assessment of Preschool Environments (Carta, Greenwood, & Atwater, 1986) were collected in 24 early childhood special education classrooms. Although preschoolers with developmental delays generally engaged in activities that their teachers had scheduled, significant differences were found between the amount of time that teachers allotted for these activities and the amount of observed time that children engaged in the activities. More time was scheduled for play and self-care than was actually observed. However, children were obsewed engaged in transition and story for longer periods than had been scheduled by their teachers. Implications for classroom practices are discussed.

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