This study was designed to investigate the association of quality of Portuguese inclusive preschool classrooms with the social acceptance of children with disabilities. Sixty-four inclusive preschool classrooms from 28 randomly selected school groups from the district of Lisbon participated in this study. Classroom quality was not associated with children's social acceptance peer ratings. Only target children's chronological age and severity of disability predicted social acceptance outcomes, with peers without disabilities attributing higher social acceptance scores to younger children and children with more severe limitations. Findings suggest the need to improve the quality of Portuguese preschool classrooms, namely, features of adult-child relationships and the degree of individualization, up to a level likely to exert a positive influence on children's social outcomes. Child predictors of social acceptance are discussed within a peer culture perspective.
Unidade de Investigação em Psicologia Cognitiva do Desenvolvimento e da Educação (UIPCDE), Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (ISPA), Lisbon, Portugal.
Corresponding Author: Cecília Aguiar, PhD, Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Rua do Jardim do Tabaco, 34, 1149-041 Lisbon, Portugal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This study was funded by a fellowship from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Reference BPD/26383/2006; Dr Aguiar). The authors thank the children and teachers who participated in this study as well as research team members Ana Figueiredo, Marta Machado, and Tânia Boavida.