Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Vol. 34, Issue 4, (2013), p. 335-349.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of the Early Childhood Training Program.
This program was designed to increase the quality of care offered to children age 0 to 5 in a metropolitan area of Southern California.
This was accomplished by providing center-based child care programs with the tools needed to more effectively work with the young children in their care, including children from diverse backgrounds and children with special needs.
Participants were recruited from six center-based child care programs serving preschool-age children and included program administrators, teachers, teacher aides, and enrolled children.
Six program administrators were assessed with the Program Administration Scale (Talan & Bloom, 2004), 14 classrooms were assessed with the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Revised (ECERS-R; Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 2005) and the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation—Research Edition (ELLCO; Smith & Dickinson, 2002), 24 teachers were assessed with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta, La Paro, & Hamre,2007), and 135 children were evaluated with an author-created measurement designed to assess typical skills across five child domains.
Assessments were administered at two time points and individualized targeted training was provided in between.
The six participating programs were assessed at four levels: program administration, classroom, teacher, and child.
The results demonstrated that the largest effect sizes were seen at the program administration and classroom levels and that smaller effect sizes were found with regard to the teacher and child levels.
Additionally, within the program administration and classroom levels, there were varied results in terms of the effect sizes found.
Specifically, at the program administration level, the largest effect sizes were found for personnel, child assessment, fiscal management, and family partnerships.
Smaller effect sizes were noted for human resources development, center operations, program planning, technology, and marketing.
At the classroom level, the largest effect sizes were in activities, program structure, and parents/staff.
Classrooms typically scored low in many areas of functioning including providing children with access to play-based materials and learning experiences and rich, stimulating interactions designed to maximize child learning and growth.
When devising a training plan for each classroom, the trainers realized that before interactions could change, providers needed assistance in increasing their supply of play-based materials, arranging their classroom environments to create functional play-based learning spaces, and considering daily schedules better suited to child-directed, play-based learning.
Therefore, the training period focused heavily on these aspects of the classroom environment.
Providers were assisted in selecting and purchasing play-based materials, trainers helped to rearrange classroom spaces to maximize play-based learning, and daily schedules were revised to reduce teacher-directed activities.
This study also has implications, not just for providers currently in the field, but for providers seeking and receiving teacher education and training.
First and foremost, early childhood providers could use more training and education prior to entering classrooms and working directly with young children.
Many of the providers included in this project were unfamiliar with best practice and the elements of quality deemed important by NAEYC.
Second, even providers with education in the field need ongoing support once they become early childhood professionals.
A number of the providers that the authors worked with had degrees in the field, yet they were still struggling in their implementation of appropriate practice.
Harms, T., Clifford, R. M., & Cryer, D. (2005). Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (rev. ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Pianta, R. L., La Paro, K. M., & Hamre, B. K. (2007). Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) — Pre- K [CLASS]. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Smith, M., & Dickinson, D. (2002). Early language & literacy classroom observation. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Talan, T. N., & Bloom, P. J. (2004). Program administration scale. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.