Optimal Models for Early Childhood Teacher Programs
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The goal of early childhood teacher (ECT) programs is to prepare graduates for teaching in early childhood centres. Within Australia, there are multiple approaches to early childhood teacher programs governed by policy, regulatory systems and universities. While the optimal structure of an ECT program favoured by academics in this study for teaching early childhood was the birth to 5 degree because it focused on preparing students to work in early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres, ECT programs were viewed to be ‘academically weak’. Comparisons between Australia and the Nordic countries’ views of the optimal structure were that the Nordic countries favoured a focused ECT program and resisted the input of primary education in their programs. The essential and desirable components of an optimal model of an ECT program Australian and Nordic academics were not content that focused upon the roles and responsibilities of early childhood teachers, but also a focus on EC teachers being professional. Early childhood teachers in the optimal model for the ECT program are positioned as committed professionals who engage in critical reflection on policy, philosophy and practice, and have dispositions to enact early childhood teaching, were viewed as essential. This view should be evident to all students within the ECT program.
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