In-service Professional Development and Constructivist Curriculum: Effects on Quality of Child Care, Teacher Beliefs, and Interactions

Authors

  • Nina Howe Concordia University
  • Ellen Jacobs Concordia University
  • Goranka Vukelich Conestoga College
  • Holly Recchia Concordia University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.11575/ajer.v57i4.55524

Keywords:

inservice professional development, child care, constructivist curriculum

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess three methods of delivering in-service professional development regarding constructivist curriculum for early childhood educators. Educators in 44 not-for-profit child care centres in three Canadian cities were studied; 94 educators with formal preservice training participated. The three methods were (a) a consultant model, (b) workshops, and (c) a readings group. Global classroom quality was assessed with the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised ([ECERS-R], Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 2005), educators were interviewed about their beliefs regarding curriculum, and modified running record observations of educator-child interactions (i.e., guidance, directives) were assessed before and after the 15-week intervention. Over time the consultant model was associated with an increase in guidance interaction (i.e., promoting children’s learning and development). A number of findings related to site were evident for quality of child care and educator beliefs, and highlight the challenges associated with conducting multi-site research studies. Implications for providing in-service professional development regarding curriculum are discussed.

L’objectif de cette étude était d’évaluer trois méthodes de prestation de développement professionnel offert sur place et portant sur un programme d’études constructiviste pour éducateurs de la petite enfance. Quatre-vingt-quatorze éducateurs avec une formation d’orientation formelle et provenant de 44 garderies sans but lucratif dans trois villes canadiennes ont participé à l’étude. Les trois méthodes employées étaient les suivantes : (a) un modèle de consultation, (b) des ateliers et (c) un groupe de lectures.  Nous avons évalué la qualité globale de la classe d’après l’échelle d’évaluation révisée du milieu d’apprentissage de la petite enfance (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised, Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 2005), passé en entrevue les éducateurs pour connaitre leurs croyances par rapport au programme d’études et évalué, avant et après les 15 semaines d’intervention, des fiches d’observation individualisée modifiées portant sur les interactions entre l’éducateur et les enfants (conseils, directives). À la longue, un lien s’est établi entre le modèle de consultation et une augmentation de l’interaction impliquant des conseils (stimulation du développement et de l’apprentissage des enfants). Plusieurs des conclusions liées au site étaient évidentes en ce qui concerne la qualité de la garde des enfants et les croyances des éducateurs, et elles font ressortir les défis découlant des projets de recherche impliquant plusieurs sites. Nous évoquons les implications de fournir du développement professionnel portant sur les programmes d’études.

Author Biographies

Nina Howe, Concordia University

Nina Howe is a Professor in the Education Department, Concordia University and holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Early Childhood Development and Education. Her research interests focus on the early social-emotional and social-cognitive development of young children, in particular siblings, as well as work in the areas of children’s play and curriculum for early childhood settings.

Ellen Jacobs, Concordia University

Ellen Jacobs is Professor emeritus in the Department of Education at Concordia University. She is a co-author of the School-age Care Environment Rating Scale and has been involved in day care research for four decades.

Goranka Vukelich, Conestoga College

Goranka Vukelich is Chair of the Child Development and Education Studies Program at Conestoga College. Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Her interests include curriculum in early childhood, and the influences of educators' curriculum decisions.

Holly Recchia, Concordia University

Holly Recchia is an Assistant Professor of Education at Concordia University. Her research examines how children’s social and moral development occurs in the context of their close relationships with parents, siblings, and friends.

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