The Design of Early Childhood Teacher Education Programs: Australian Employer Perspectives with International Program Comparisons
Australian Journal of Teacher Education
Provision of quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) supports children's learning with strong agreement that early childhood teachers (ECTs) are central to quality provision. In many countries, it is mandatory that ECEC services employ ECTs. However, Australian ECT employers report that early childhood graduates are not always well-prepared to work in ECEC settings. This may be because what constitutes optimal early childhood initial teacher education programs (EC ITE) is unclear. To investigate the design of EC ITE programs this research reports on (i) design of EC ITE programs across international contexts; and (ii) 19 Australian ECT employers' perspectives on EC ITE program design. Findings indicate little consensus on the design of EC ITE programs, with inconsistencies across and within countries. Australian employers identified shortcomings in graduates knowledge. This research highlights recommendations to understand how programs prepare ECTs, by conducting research tracking preservice teachers from EC ITE programs into ECEC teaching.
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