O'Neil, Kathleen

Committee Member

Milian, Madeline

Committee Member

Lahman, Maria


Doctor of Education


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



255 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The purpose of this ethnographic case study was to describe the culture of an early childhood educational preschool setting which was philosophically grounded in contemplative education and traditions — the Alaya Preschool at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. While much has been written about early education and contemplative education as separate topics, the current study fills a scholarship gap in the literature about contemplative early childhood education. Data were collected using the Mosaic Approach, and included shoulder-to-shoulder and walk-around methods for interviewing. Data types consisted of the observation of classroom and school activities; semi-structured face-to-face-interviews and informal interviews with adults and children; and the collection of artifacts, including paintings, drawings, photographs, and poetry generated by the researcher and participants, as well as school documents and audio recordings. Multimodal data analysis included inductive analysis and coding; the compilation of paintings and drawings; and research poetry. Both narrative and art forms generated with participatory tools were used for reporting. Findings about the culture and lived experiences of the learning community included contemplative practices of adults (staff meditation), children (practicing stones, sand trays, and Kalapa Ikebana), and the collective practice of holding and opening space. In addition, the learning community described their personal and professional cultural identities, as individuals and a collective, and spoke to the key Principles of Practice which served as their guide — a foundational belief in Basic Goodness, which cradled expressions of Genuine Relationships and Kindness. These findings were interpreted and discussed within the contexts of embodied presence, care theory, and the theory of work and human evolution. This research has the potential to inform early childhood educators, teacher educators, and contemplative practitioners. Key words: care theory, contemplative education, contemplative practices, early childhood education, embodied presence, ethnographic case study, qualitative, teacher education, theory of work and human evolution, transformative education

Degree type


Degree Name


Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.

Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_ListOfSupplementalFiles.pdf (113 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_SoundFile2_TigerSnowLionGarudaAndDragonReturn.MP3 (1029 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_SoundFile1_GoodMorningDearEarth.MP3 (393 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_SoundFile3_MayTheStoryTakeUsByTheHand.MP3 (571 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_SoundFile4_GarudaSelfIdentityPoem.mp3 (4004 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_SoundFile5_EarthWhoGivesToUs.MP3 (301 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_SoundFile6_StaffMorningMeditation.MP3 (4470 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_SoundFile8_OriginalMusicalFinale ByAGaruda.MP3 (112 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum1_MovementMaps.mp4 (68417 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum2_SoundMaps.mp4 (51928 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum3_SandTrays.mp4 (61946 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum5_CulturePoetry.mp4 (117200 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum6_CulturePaintingsByStaff.mp4 (73191 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum7_CulturePaintingsByParents.mp4 (48166 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_SoundFile7_SingingBowl.MP3 (171 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum4_IdentityPoetry.mp4 (137290 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum8_PaintingsByChildren.mp4 (120917 kB)
Taylor_C_Dissertation_AlayaPreschool_VideoAudioAlbum9_EnvironmentalPhotographsAboutThePrinciplesOfPractice.mp4 (68473 kB)