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Preparing Early Educators for the Changing Professional Landscape
Unformatted Document Text:  preparation.; and (c) the dire need for professionals who are prepared to work with all young children, those with and without disabilities. There is an apparent shortage of trained early childhood educators to work with young children and their families. This shortage is most notable in the birth to three populations, particularly in families who have a very young child with significant disabilities (National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, 1999). Contributions of the proposed paper appear to tie most closely to Strand I. Imagining Future Students, Future Teachers. Paper content will outline the elements of a teacher education program that prepares early childhood professionals to negotiate the changing complexion of their role and responsibilities in their work with young children and their families. Central to the revised program are acknowledgement of the increasingly diverse student/child population that beginning teachers now encounter in their roles and educators and caregivers. In early childhood education and care, this includes negotiating relationships with children and their families who come from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and varying socioeconomic and ability levels. The paper highlights a revision process that guided program restructuring and change. Key outcomes of the revised program, one that emphasizes inclusive perspectives and practices across courses and field experiences, will be highlighted. Relevance: Using Qualitative Evidence to Inform Program Design and Practice The proposed paper exemplifies the effective use of qualitative evidence to create policy that has resulted in the encouragement of best practices. Presenters will describe an inductive analysis conducted by elementary and early childhood faculty in which several sources believed to guide and impact models of personnel preparation in the early childhood profession. This included the review of current literature on recommended practices in early childhood personnel preparation; collection of field notes and relevant documents that were obtained through visits with colleagues at other universities who are implementing Unified Early Childhood Personnel Preparation Models; an in-depth dialogue focused on strengths, challenges, and future direction of the Early Childhood Studies Program; and proceedings from focus groups with students enrolled in the Early Childhood Studies Program, community based early childhood teachers/interventionist, administrators and related service providers. Elements of the program are aligned with INTASC and other professional standards of relevant learned societies (National Association for the Education of Young Children and Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children). The revised program has been approved by the Board of Regents and the state’s Board of Teaching. Implications for Action The project highlighted in the paper resulted in the following outcomes for early childhood and elementary education faculty: (a) a deeper and more holistic understanding of our program and its effectiveness; (b) an increased awareness on our campus of early childhood professional preparation; (c) the opportunity to work collectively as a team to create program change; and (e) an increased understanding of one another, our classes, and how they align with professional standards. Additionally, the successful outcomes have set the stage for other programs in our department and college to embark on similar program change efforts. The proposed paper has the potential to provide teacher education programs from across the country with an example or starting point.

Authors: Marchel, Mary Ann., Keenan, Karen. and Onchwari, Jacqueline.
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preparation.; and (c) the dire need for professionals who are prepared to work with all
young children, those with and without disabilities. There is an apparent shortage of
trained early childhood educators to work with young children and their families. This
shortage is most notable in the birth to three populations, particularly in families who
have a very young child with significant disabilities (National Early Childhood Technical
Assistance Center, 1999).
Contributions of the proposed paper appear to tie most closely to Strand I.
Imagining Future Students, Future Teachers. Paper content will outline the elements of a
teacher education program that prepares early childhood professionals to negotiate the
changing complexion of their role and responsibilities in their work with young children
and their families. Central to the revised program are acknowledgement of the
increasingly diverse student/child population that beginning teachers now encounter in
their roles and educators and caregivers. In early childhood education and care, this
includes negotiating relationships with children and their families who come from diverse
cultural and linguistic backgrounds and varying socioeconomic and ability levels. The
paper highlights a revision process that guided program restructuring and change. Key
outcomes of the revised program, one that emphasizes inclusive perspectives and
practices across courses and field experiences, will be highlighted.
Relevance: Using Qualitative Evidence to Inform Program Design and Practice
The proposed paper exemplifies the effective use of qualitative evidence to create
policy that has resulted in the encouragement of best practices. Presenters will describe
an inductive analysis conducted by elementary and early childhood faculty in which
several sources believed to guide and impact models of personnel preparation in the early
childhood profession. This included the review of current literature on recommended
practices in early childhood personnel preparation; collection of field notes and relevant
documents that were obtained through visits with colleagues at other universities who are
implementing Unified Early Childhood Personnel Preparation Models; an in-depth
dialogue focused on strengths, challenges, and future direction of the Early Childhood
Studies Program; and proceedings from focus groups with students enrolled in the Early
Childhood Studies Program, community based early childhood teachers/interventionist,
administrators and related service providers. Elements of the program are aligned with
INTASC and other professional standards of relevant learned societies (National
Association for the Education of Young Children and Division of Early Childhood of the
Council for Exceptional Children). The revised program has been approved by the
Board of Regents and the state’s Board of Teaching.
Implications for Action
The project highlighted in the paper resulted in the following outcomes for early
childhood and elementary education faculty: (a) a deeper and more holistic understanding
of our program and its effectiveness; (b) an increased awareness on our campus of early
childhood professional preparation; (c) the opportunity to work collectively as a team to
create program change; and (e) an increased understanding of one another, our classes,
and how they align with professional standards. Additionally, the successful outcomes
have set the stage for other programs in our department and college to embark on similar
program change efforts. The proposed paper has the potential to provide teacher
education programs from across the country with an example or starting point.


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