Enhancing Quality Early Childhood Education Through Post Secondary Profesional Development Programs

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Enhancing Quality Early Childhood Education Through Post Secondary Profesional Development Programs

Enhancing Quality Early Childhood Education Through Post Secondary Profesional Development Programs


Professional development, articulation, and teacher qualifications are related concepts, each having potential impact upon the early care and education system for young children. Recognizing the need for refinement and definition of the formal and informal education system for those who care for and teach young children, stakeholders of early care and education and policymakers have begun preliminary investigation and discussion of the issues surrounding professional development for early childhood teachers. A comprehensive approach, an assessment of formal education systems, was necessary before informed decisions could be made.

Professional development is a current policy topic with tangible meaning for children and families served by birth to five services. Prior to considering systematically increasing demands for education and training for early childhood teachers, research was conducted in order to assess the availability and accessibility of professional development programs and to strengths and weaknesses in faculty dynamics, the provision of curricula, and articulation of credit among institutions of higher education in U.S.

Literature Review

Theoretical application to professional development

A large portion of research on child development identifies factors that influence children's readiness for school, beginning with the child and extending outward to encompass the family, early care and education programs, and the community (Zaslow, Calkins, & Hall, 2010). This ecological perspective may provide a useful framework for understanding how child care and early learning systems can support and improve quality initiatives that promote healthy child development and school readiness. In particular, the ecological perspective frames the professional development issue investigated in the current study by providing clear linkages between the provision of quality child care, the professional competency of early childhood teachers, and optimal development of young children. General systems theory is an alternate theory that could be considered for application to the research. However, child development is so closely aligned with environmental constructs and the influence of multi-layers in a system that the ecological framework provides a more natural leveling system to coordinate research. While it could be argued that a general systems perspective, whereby one action influences change on many levels, would guide the design and methodology of child development research, the ecological perspective more directly addresses environmental processes. In the investigation of professional development, consideration must be given to indicators of quality and general processes that influence an individual's growth and development. The professional development of early childhood teachers has potential bearing on the provision of quality care. In turn, the quality of care children receive has direct influence on children's developmental outcomes (Dwyer, Chait, & McKee, 2010; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2009; Zaslow, Calkins, & Halle, 2010). Therefore, the Ecological Systems Theory was selected for application of a theoretical framework to research on the preparation of early childhood teachers.

Quality Child Care and Early Learning

Research in the 2011's confirmed the significance of the early years in a child's life and verified for early childhood professionals and ...
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