The purpose of this chapter is to examine the challenges of instructional leadership in prekindergarten (PK) programs in the context of small and mid-sized school…
The purpose of this chapter is to examine the challenges of instructional leadership in prekindergarten (PK) programs in the context of small and mid-sized school districts. We first explore issues that characterize current PK education including the need for content standards and curriculum, Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP), Mathematics Pedagogical Content Knowledge, and addressing mathematics anxiety and teacher-efficacy. We then turn to instructional leadership for PK education and the challenges that leader preparation and district program structures cause for instructional leadership. Often instructional experts have limited exposure to PK classrooms housed in traditional elementary buildings. Additionally, elementary principals are typically ill-prepared with the knowledge needed to support and develop teacher MPCK and effective learning contexts in PK classrooms. Typical preparation and professional development programs offer limited support for building principals as PK instructional leaders. Implications for building principals include the need to engage professional communities, utilize collaborative processes such as team observations, and leverage the collective efficacy and expertise of PK educators in their schools and districts.
From John Dewey to Herbert Kohl, many theorists and practitioners have explored the use of a developmentalist model as a way to harness the natural instincts and interests…
From John Dewey to Herbert Kohl, many theorists and practitioners have explored the use of a developmentalist model as a way to harness the natural instincts and interests of young children to foster meaningful learning. Yet, the concept of meaningful learning in early childhood education today is quickly shifting away from the developmentalist model and its emphasis on authentic learning, toward a social-efficiency model that emphasizes the use of state curriculum standards, standardized assessments, and evidence-based instructional approaches. As the early childhood curriculum pendulum swings, early childhood programs find themselves at risk for becoming more “business like” and less representative of the kind of reflective and risk-taking environments Dewey envisioned leaving educators struggling to use child-centered practices in an era of increased accountability. Considering some of the significant challenges facing early childhood programs and educators, it is critically important for the field of early childhood to begin examining the ways in which the curriculum and instructional procedures being utilized may, or may not, be illustrative of Dewey’s vision of active, dynamic, and integrated early learning experiences and, to what degree. One way to promote meaningful instructional integration is to consider the natural connections that exist across content areas. A logical beginning is to use literacy as an anchor for meaningful learning across the preschool curriculum. In this chapter the authors engage in a review of the literature as it relates to the integration of early literacy and content curriculum and discuss implications for future practice.
Since 1998 New Zealand early childhood educators have been required to implement programs consistent with Te Whàriki (Ministry of Education, 1996), a bicultural early childhood curriculum that validates and enacts kaupapa Màori (a Màori theoretical paradigm reflected through the medium of the Màori language). This curriculum document affirms and validates the status of Màori, the indigenous people of this country so that Pàkehà (New Zealanders of European descent) early childhood educators now need to reposition themselves alongside Màori whànau (families) and colleagues who remain the repositories of Màori knowledge. This means a decentering of the “mainstream” curriculum to develop models that parallel Màori language and content inclusively alongside western knowledges in all facets of the early childhood curriculum. This chapter utilizes data from a recent study to illustrate some ways in which the bicultural requirements of Te Whàriki, are being understood and experienced by early childhood teachers, teacher educators, and professional development facilitators. In particular, this chapter considers how Te Whàriki challenges non-Màori teachers’ to confront the power relations that have historically positioned them as curriculum ‘experts’ and marginalized indigenous cultural knowledge.
Although many educators feel insecure about reporting suspected child maltreatment, educators are in a unique position to identify and, subsequently, intervene in such…
Although many educators feel insecure about reporting suspected child maltreatment, educators are in a unique position to identify and, subsequently, intervene in such cases. This is particularly true for those working in early childhood education settings, as the youngest children – those most vulnerable to the effects of maltreatment – are at the greatest risk for being victims of most types of maltreatment. Thus, early childhood educators should be familiar with child maltreatment and be prepared to act in these cases. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a general overview of child maltreatment. Definitions and prevalent issues will be discussed, and the potential effects of child maltreatment across a variety of domains, including cognitive, academic, social, and behavioral functioning, will be highlighted. Finally, the authors explore various responsibilities, such as mandated reporting and intervention and prevention activities, of early childhood educators.
Classist perspectives embedded in our meritocratic society permeate early childhood education. Curricula, instructional practices, and classroom interactions have the…
Classist perspectives embedded in our meritocratic society permeate early childhood education. Curricula, instructional practices, and classroom interactions have the potential to send messages to children about who and what is valued by society; frequently influenced by the characteristics and abilities of a middle-class child. In order to best serve the needs and abilities of children from any social class, early childhood educators should be well versed in social-class sensitive pedagogy, a pedagogy that helps teachers to be inclusive of social class diversity in their classrooms. This chapter argues that aspects of Montessori theory, such as the four planes of development and the prepared adult, complement social-class sensitive pedagogy in ways that all early childhood educators may apply to their own teaching.
Understanding the complexity of the change process is critical if early childhood improvement initiatives are to result in lasting change. One of the keys to effective…
Understanding the complexity of the change process is critical if early childhood improvement initiatives are to result in lasting change. One of the keys to effective programs and efficient use of resources is an understanding of readiness to change. This chapter presents a theoretical approach to understanding readiness to change in the field of early education and care. We describe applications of this approach used within a community-wide initiative in Rochester, New York, funded by an Early Childhood Educator Professional Development grant. The goal of the initiative was to create an integrated professional development system from entry level through the completion of a bachelor degree, with the priorities of increasing access, alignment, and articulation. We describe interventions at the community, organization, and individual level, and explore the impact of readiness to change at each of these levels.
Evaluation results show that educators enrolled in the research-based mentoring program offered by this grant became involved in other types of professional development programs, made significant gains in the quality of the classroom environment, and had children who made gains in overall development and vocabulary beyond developmental expectations. We conclude with a discussion of these results as well as implications for policy, practice, and future research.
This chapter reviews some of the important factors in the professional development of teachers of young children. It discusses how important teacher quality is for student…
This chapter reviews some of the important factors in the professional development of teachers of young children. It discusses how important teacher quality is for student outcomes. The chapter also discusses the many factors that go into the development of quality teachers. This chapter also introduces the history of the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development program financed through grants from the United States Department of Education. This program has focused on creating state of the art professional development programs across many U.S. contexts.
This chapter draws on developmental intergroup theory, parental ethnic-racial socialization literature, anti-bias curricula, and prejudice intervention studies to address…
This chapter draws on developmental intergroup theory, parental ethnic-racial socialization literature, anti-bias curricula, and prejudice intervention studies to address the appropriateness of discussing race and racism in early childhood settings. Existing literature about teacher discussions surrounding race and racism is reviewed, best practices are shared, and the need for more research in this area is highlighted. The construct of parental ethnic-racial socialization is mapped onto early childhood anti-bias classroom practices. The chapter also outlines racial ideologies of teachers, specifically anti-bias and colorblind attitudes, and discusses how these ideologies may manifest in classroom practices surrounding race and racism. Colorblind ideology is problematized and dissected to show that colorblind practices may harm children. Young children’s interpretations of race and racism, in light of children’s cognitive developmental level, are discussed. Additionally, findings from racial prejudice intervention studies are applied to teaching. Early literacy practices surrounding race and racism are outlined with practical suggestions for teachers and teacher educators. Moreover, implications of teacher practices surrounding race and racism for children’s development, professional development, and teacher education are discussed.
When young children notice and comment about physical appearance differences often associated with race, adults may experience discomfort and uncertainty about how to…
When young children notice and comment about physical appearance differences often associated with race, adults may experience discomfort and uncertainty about how to respond. As a result, many adults try to avoid or terminate such discussion, leaving children with unanswered questions and misunderstandings. To prepare educators to be supportive of the development of children’s positive racial identity and racial awareness, it is important for educators to examine their own attitudes, biases, and knowledge about race and racism. This chapter summarizes research on children’s racial identity and awareness, describes critical approaches to anti-racist education, and provides resources and strategies through which professionals can better understand themselves and the young children they serve.
This comparative and qualitative study-in-progress focuses on two early childhood teacher education (ECTE) programs in contexts where the participants are undergoing rapid…
This comparative and qualitative study-in-progress focuses on two early childhood teacher education (ECTE) programs in contexts where the participants are undergoing rapid social and personal change: a program in Namibia and a training program for immigrant childcare educators in Canada. The objective is to provide in-depth understanding of the ways in which differing ideas about ECTE are reflected in practice. It is important to ensure that ECTE programs prepare teachers to dovetail children’s preparation for school with meaningful connections to the culture and language of the home community, since more and more children spend their preschool years in early childhood (EC) centers that are becoming increasingly westernized in character. Without such connections, children in settings undergoing rapid change will continue to drop out of school before literacy and other skills are firmly established. The data will stem from analysis of early childhood care and education and ECTE curricula; policy and other documents; focused observations in ECTE classrooms and teaching practica; and interviews with teacher educators, education officers, teachers, parents, and community leaders. The results are expected to illuminate issues and strategies which are most likely to be effective for ECTE programs, with implications for teacher education in a range of settings in both the majority and minority worlds.