What do early childhood teacher graduands say about working with infants and toddlers?: An exploratory investigation of perceptions

Susanne Garvis
University of Gothenburg

Donna Pendergast
Griffith University

Recent initiatives in the early childhood education and care sector have increased the demand for early childhood teachers to work in long day care settings. This study explores the perceptions of pre-service teachers who had recently finished their final semester of study and were due to graduate from one Australian higher education institution in the state of Queensland. A cohort of pre-service teachers was invited to complete an online survey investigating their perceptions of working with infants and toddlers. A response rate of 80 per cent, representing 25 respondents, participated in the study. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were employed to analyse the survey data. The findings reveal that overall, pre-service teachers reported they had a partial knowledge of children aged birth to three years after completion of their teacher education program. This was despite 10 days of placement with infants and toddlers, and knowledge and content about infants and toddlers being embedded throughout the teacher education program (birth to eight years). Findings are also relevant to industry and government policy-makers who are advocating for qualified early childhood teachers to work in prior to formal school settings within Australia.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 40 No 4 December 2015

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