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ERIC Number: ED548950
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 322
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-6271-9
No Teachers Left Behind: An Exploration of Preschool Teacher Preparation Programs in Massachusetts
O'Brien, Ellen J.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Recognizing the importance of early childhood education for young children, states are planning and implementing initiatives to assure greater access to high-quality, elementary-school based preschool. In the field of early childhood education the leading professional organizations, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), have defined recommended practices for teacher preparation (Sandall, McLean, & Smith, 2000). These practices are grounded in producing quality environments and positive child outcomes in early childhood education (Smith, Strain, Snyder, Sandall, McLean, Ramsey, & Sumi, 2002). Specific literature on how preschool teachers are being prepared in institutions of higher education is sparse. Accurate information on factors leading to best practices and outcomes in preschool education is necessary, including preparation of teachers. The focus of this study explored the nature of teacher preparation programs for preschool education, at public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This study contributes to the limited research on early childhood education preschool preparation programs, raising consciousness regarding preschool education teacher preparation practices, and providing baseline information for teacher education programs for preschool education. The eight public institutions of higher education in Massachusetts offering early childhood teacher preparation programs at the undergraduate level were included. Most new teachers are prepared in undergraduate public institutions of higher education (American Educational Research Association, 2005). Massachusetts was the state to create the nation's first independent Board and Department of Early Education and Care, in 2005. The creation of the department was critical to the commonwealth's efforts to develop an effective and accountable system of high-quality early education for all Massachusetts children (Strategies for Children, 2008). In order to offer high-quality early education, well-trained preschool teachers are needed. This multiple case study used qualitative and quantitative research methods. The quantitative methods included the use of descriptive statistics summarizing data with measures of central tendency, frequency counts, and percentages with document analysis and a survey. The qualitative methods included the open-ended questions of the survey, and interviews. Using qualitative data analysis software, NVivo©, aided and strengthened the structure and integration of data collection, management, and analysis. Topics researched include the integration of NAEYC standards for early childhood professional preparation programs in the teacher preparation programs, required course work and field experiences of preschool teacher candidates, teacher educators' academic credentials and experiences, and the challenges in preparing preschool teacher candidates. Different data analysis strategies within NVivo were utilized, including methodological logs, memos, and hierarchical coding. The confluence of two emerging fields of knowledge influenced the context of this study. The first is the research and data supporting quality early childhood education for all children. The second is the set of policy initiatives that created professional teaching standards, strengthened teacher preparation and certification requirements, and transformed the roles of teachers (Holmes Group, 1986, 1990; National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 1989, 2002; National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 2003). [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts