First Advisor

McConnell, Christine C.

First Committee Member

Erekson, James A.

Second Committee Member

Kirshner, Jean

Third Committee Member

Larkins, Randy J.

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Document Type


Date Created



College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Teacher Education, Teacher Education Student Work


Imagination is a powerful mental process and integral to a child’s development and education. Early childhood education is an ideal situation and time to explore, nurture, and provide space for imagination. The purpose of this research was to witness, document, and share the imaginative moments in three ECE classrooms and contribute to the important body of research on imagination. Within this qualitative study, I utilized educational criticism to explore the use, presence, and implications of imagination in an educational environment. I found it was in the space afforded by teachers—which included time, opportunities for student choice and freedom, or open-ended supplies and objects to use—where student imagination occurred and was shared. I also found it was in asking questions, by teachers or peers, where students shared imaginative thinking. This is all significant in early childhood education, and beyond, and highlights aspects of education that need further discussion, exploration, and implementation.

Abstract Format



159 pages

Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.