ERIC Number: ED471903
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002
Education Matters in the Nurturing of the Beliefs of Preschool Caregivers and Teachers.
McMullen, Mary Benson; Alat, Kazim
Early Childhood Research & Practice, v4 n2 Fall 2002
This study examined the relationship between educational background and the philosophical orientation of early childhood educators who worked as caregivers and teachers of preschoolers, ages 3 to 6 years, in one midwestern state (Indiana) in the United States. Specifically, the highest level of education attained by the early childhood professionals and their educational background (whether specific to working with young children or not) were compared to their self-reported beliefs about best practice with young children, using developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) as the philosophy for comparison. A comparison of factor analyses from this study and from studies conducted by Charlesworth and colleagues in 1991 and 1993 indicate clear similarities. A significant, positive correlation was found between level of education and scores for self-reported DAP beliefs. Results from 2 x 3 ANOVAs of the three factors that emerged from these data indicate that professionals with a bachelor's degree or higher more strongly adopted DAP as a philosophy overall than colleagues with less education, whereas coursework specific to working with young children was found to be significant only in the case of beliefs related to child-initiated learning. Thus, in general, participants with 4 years of college or more, even if in an unrelated field, held stronger DAP beliefs than those with less education, even if that education was directly related to working with young children. The article suggests that more research needs to be done to examine whether a 4-year degree may be most desirable in terms of ensuring better-qualified preschool teachers. The article also discusses the implications of this finding for policy and advocacy in the field of early childhood education. (Contains 44 references.) (Author/HTH)
Descriptors: Bachelors Degrees, Beliefs, Caregiver Attitudes, Child Caregivers, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Educational Attainment, Outcomes of Education, Preschool Teachers, Teacher Attitudes
For full text: http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v4n2/mcmullen.html.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Early Childhood Research & Practice: An Internet Journal on the Development, Care, and Education of Young Children, Fall 2002; see PS 030 921.