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Research on Preschool Training
January 20, 2010
All I know to do is to light the candle that has been given to me.
-Fred Rogers
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"It's hard to conduct research on effective ways to train preschool educators because of the lack of standardization in their preparation and in the programs that employ them."  This is the conclusion of a December meeting at Georgetown University attended by early childhood education researchers and reported in Education Week (December 16, 2009; www.edweek.org).  Other points made at the event:

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education:  "We're trying to get out of the catch-up business.  If early childhood education is glorified babysitting, we're not changing people's lives."

Kathleen Sibelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, called for an increase in the quality of early childhood programs, stressed the need for greater financial investment in preschool programs, and observed, "We sure don't put the resources behind it."

Barbara Thompson, director of the children and youth directorate of the office of family policy at the Defense Department, noted that 98 percent of the DoD centers are nationally accredited, and that to maintain that level of quality "you do need standards and oversight — a constant review of the program."  She also observed that without the level of professional development provided to DoD's 15,000 child care staff  "we wouldn't have the quality we have."


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Comments (4)

Displaying All 4 Comments
Jan Potter · January 20, 2010
Arlington Heights Nuresery School
Arlington, MA, United States


Another aspect of this problem has to do with that in order to keep chilccare affordable to the families that need it, it is difficult to pay early childhood teachers adequate salaries. This fact impacts their ability and willingness to afford the education they should have, and it therefore impacts how they and the services they provide are viewed by the general public.

Mary Widenhofer · January 20, 2010
IPFW
Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States


I love the videatives and use them in teaching a class on Play and Development. Wish I could purchase them all. Maybe I will.

Kathleen Seabolt · January 20, 2010
United States


It is difficult to get consensus on "standards", when that buzzword often leads to reallocation of resources toward external assessment tools, instead of toward worthy wage and benefits for staff retention, high quality materials, and an administration with an appreciation for the difference between talent and certification.

If "standards" requires a day chunked up into 15 minute periods for literacy, math skills, nutrition and social development - you can keep it. I will gladly take the label of glorified babysitter if it allows for children to enjoy observant, impassioned adults providing a play-based environment with long periods of uninterrupted time to support project-based explorations. I don't need more frustrated 3rd grade teachers working in preschool teaching reading - I need Early Childhood Educators that understand pace, wonder, discovery and experience to address the whole child.

Patricia Hess, Ed.D. · January 20, 2010
Rowan University
Glassboro, New Jersey, United States


Perhaps I misunderstand Mr. Duncan's comment; it would be appropriate to lose the phrase "glorified baby-sitting" when referring to early childhood education. We here at Rowan feel we have a comprehensive pre-service program that prepares our candidates to "teach" in pre-school, not "baby-sit". Our field experiences incorporate theory and include observation of various "high quality" program with many opportunities to utilize what they learn in the classroom.



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