"It's a two-way street": Examining how trust, diversity, and contradiction influence a sense of community

Victoria I. Puig, Elizabeth J. Erwin, Tara L. Evenson, Madeleine Beresford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


As interest in establishing and maintaining high-quality inclusive early childhood environments continues to grow, the population of children and families being served by these programs is becoming increasingly diverse. In response to these demographic and social trends, this study was conducted to explore how diversity is perceived within an early childhood inclusive environment. This participatory action research study was conceptualized and conducted over a 3-year period. Our collaborative research team, which reflected diversity across culture, race, gender, age, and professional discipline, used qualitative semistructured interviews to examine the question, "What does it mean to be fully inclusive across all aspects of diversity?" The research agenda and study implementation were shaped at every stage of the process through reaching consensus among the research team. Findings revealed the critical nature of trust and factors that contributed to and detracted from feelings of membership and community. Study participants identified opportunities and obstacles related to inclusive practices within their setting and expressed understandings and contradictions about the concept of diversity. Recommendations for practice and research that considered multiple aspects of diversity in early childhood are shared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2015


  • children with disabilities
  • culturally diverse students
  • early childhood education
  • inclusive education
  • qualitative research


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