Whereas much research attention has been given to the induction stage of beginning schoolteachers worldwide, there is a limited knowledge base on the experiences of new kindergarten teachers at this stage, despite the different work tasks and contexts of both groups of teachers. Based on semi-structured interviews with 15 Israeli kindergarten teachers in early career stage, the purpose of the current study was to explore their career issues and experiences at this critical stage, and to identify personal and contextual determinants affecting these issues and experiences.
From the analysis of the new kindergarten teachers’ accounts it was clear that most of their experiences and issues in early career are similar to those of their counterparts in the school system, except from three minor ones that stem from their unique organizational context. Nevertheless, their accounts provide insight into the importance of three groups of persons in the career development of new kindergarten teachers—the assistant, the supervisor and the parents. These groups are perceived by our interviewees to have much influence, either positive or negative, on beginning kindergarten teachers’ task accomplishment, success and well-being.
The assistant, the supervisor and the group of parents are perceived in the new teachers’ accounts as critical factors in their career development, chiefly through the establishment of mentoring-like relationships and collaboration with the new teacher which, in general, helped the newcomers discover that their new profession is compatible with their self. Practical implications of our findings are suggested.