The Early Childhood Professional Mentoring Group: A Forum for Parallel Learning

Oct. 28, 2008

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 29, Issue 4, October 2008, pages 340 - 354

Novice professionals entering the fields of early childhood education and early childhood special education face many challenges. Furthermore, they often feel disconnected from the support system that nurtured them during their teacher education programs (Brindley, Fleege, & Graves, 2000). The Early Childhood Professional Mentoring Group (ECPMG) was established to develop a forum of support for recent graduates of the authors' university's Masters programs in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. Moreover, this group was established to create a process for exploring and evaluating the ways that the university's programs are preparing professionals for practice. In order to gain insight into the process and the value of the group, throughout its 1st full academic year, the authors, as cofacilitators, conducted a 45-minute debriefing session after each monthly meeting, which was tape recorded and transcribed. During these sessions, the authors reflected on the group's dynamics, topics or themes presented, and their own ways of participating, collaborating, and making meaning of the experience. Transcripts were coded and analyzed to reveal emergent parallel tracks between the group's process and their own.
As group participants were considering ways to address professional challenges supporting children and families and transforming their practice as early childhood educators, the authors were also considering ways to enhance the program to support new professionals and transform their practice as teacher educators.

Brindley, Roger, Fleege, Pam, & Graves, Stephen. (2000). A friend in need: Mentorship and community. Childhood Education, 76(5), 312-16.

Updated: Feb. 12, 2009