ASSESSING SCHOOL TEACHER INVOLVEMENT WITH REGARDS TO CHILDREN AND THEIR MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES: KINDERGARTEN THROUGH THIRD GRADE TEACHER PERSPECTIVES

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Date

2020-06-22

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Authors

Walrtuh, Alissa Blake

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East Carolina University

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Due to the increasing rates of identified early childhood mental health challenges, schools and teachers are receiving more attention from research for being the pilot of childhood mental health outcomes. Guided by ecological systems and attachment theory, this study examines how teachers perceive their role and involvement in working with children with mental health challenges and how they describe the school's role, its involvement, challenges, needs and barriers as they serve children with mental health challenges between the ages of five and eight years. Participants were recruited from two counties in the state of North Carolina and New York. Twenty-nine in-service teachers currently working in kindergarten through third grade participated in the study. Overall, the teachers felt they did have adequate knowledge and skills to meet the mental health challenges of the children they work with, based on their survey responses. However, teachers with more experience think that schools are faced with more barriers and need more support to work with children facing mental health issues within their respective schools. Also, analyzing the open-ended teacher responses revealed that teachers are still in need of more personal and professional training and resources to better support children and families. Several implications for the field of education and teacher training have been explained in greater detail at the conclusion of the study.

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