Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Ramona Matthews - Chair

Second Advisor

Barbara Meyers

Third Advisor

Joel Meyers

Fourth Advisor

Julie Rainer-Dangel


Presented are case studies of two children as they make the transition from Mexican immigrant homes to kindergarten in an English-dominant school in the United States. In the first case, Victor adapts by keeping his attention focused on the teacher, which allows him to avoid disorientation and take on the role of exemplary student. In the second, Natalie adapts to kindergarten through her relationships with peers and the teacher. She often participates in class activities, however, without understanding the narrative or rationale behind them. Cross-case comparisons suggest that each student adapted in a way suited to his or her own needs and resources. The journey from disorientation to adaptation is described through the application of the holistic, systems-oriented, interactionalistic developmental approaches of Werner, Wapner, and Koizumi.