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Title: What does being an early childhood 'teacher' mean in tomorrow's world of children and family services?
Contributor(s): Sims, Margaret  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2010
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Abstract: On 7 December 2009, the Council of Australian Governments announced the new National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care (see One of the changes involves the requirement, by 1 January 2014, for an early childhood teacher to be in attendance in services, and for at least 50 per cent of staff to have, or be working towards a diploma-level (or higher) qualification (COAG, 2009). There are few who would argue that appropriately trained early childhood professionals are unnecessary for high-quality service delivery. However, training is not best represented by pre-service qualifications alone. Teachers' practice is influenced not only by their pre-service training but by their values and the experiences they have had subsequent to graduation (Kennedy, 2008; Mashburn et al., 2008). Despite this, research demonstrates that higher levels of training improve service delivery (Campbell & Milbourne, 2005; Pianta & Hamre, 2009). Early childhood staff with more training engage in warmer and more responsive interactions with children, leading to improved child outcomes (Connor, Son, Hindman & Morrison, 2005). More training increases the likelihood that staff will be less authoritarian, less punishing, more sensitive and more able to demonstrate positive interaction styles (Abbott & Langston, 2005; Arnett, 1989; Burchinal, Cryer, Clifford & Howes, 2002; de Kruif, McWilliam & Ridley, 2000). When training is coupled with on-the-job support, such as mentoring (Fiene, 2002), significant improvements in children's outcomes are more likely to be demonstrated. Early childhood services are evolving and changing as we learn more about the importance of the early years, and the contexts in which we can best support children's development. There is no doubt that early childhood professionals of the next decade will be undertaking different work in many ways than early childhood professionals of today. They will be working in different contexts with children whose needs are shaped by the changes in the world in which they live. It is essential to ensure that professionals working in these children’s services of the future (and in this I include childcare programs, preschools and parent–child centres/early childhood hubs) are trained appropriately for the work they are expected to do. In this paper, I discuss my vision of early childhood work of the future and the training that I believe is necessary to prepare professionals to undertake that work. In embarking on this task, I acknowledge the substantial work undertaken around preparation of teachers, and the impact of teachers' practices on children's outcomes (for example, Mashburn et al., 2008; Pianta, Belsky, Vandergrift, Houts & Morrison, 2008). However, the focus is not on this work as such, but on my vision of the future directions of early childhood and what that means for pre-service preparation of the professionals working in this evolving field.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 35(3), p. 111-114
Publisher: Early Childhood Australia Inc
Place of Publication: Canberra, Australia
ISSN: 1836-9391
Field of Research (FOR): 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development
939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified
940105 Childrens/Youth Services and Childcare
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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