Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Instruction and Curriculum: Early Childhood Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Sherie Klee

Academic Year



Research has revealed an increasing number of instances of problem behavior exhibited by students with special needs in early childhood classrooms. This project explores the problem of increased problem behavior in early childhood special education (ECSE) classrooms and how to decrease the prevalence of this challenge. Through an extensive literature review, this project concludes that providing ECSE educators with professional development and resources on research-based approaches and strategies to addressing problem behavior is the key to tackling this problem. The professional development included in this project informs the importance of solving this problem, including short- and long-term implications of students engaging in problematic behaviors; as well as addressing the emotional well-being of educators and increasing educator confidence and knowledge. Additionally, it provides information on research-based methods to determine the function of a problematic behavior, collaboration with various school personnel to increase fidelity and success, and ways to measure and celebrate the success of staff working to address this problem. The resources included in the professional development, along with samples provided in the Appendix of this project, provide tools such as lesson plans, data sheets, fidelity check sheets and specific research-based strategies for educators to implement within ECSE classrooms. The implementation of this project will provide ECSE educators with appropriate and relevant tools and information to prepare them to address problem behavior, leading to a decrease in the prevalence of problem behavior in ECSE classrooms.