Times of change - CareforKids.com.au®
Times of change:
Exploring the impact of educational reform on early childhood educators in the field

Lauren Armstrong

Monash University, Frankston, Australia

International early childhood education has experienced substantial changes to policy, theory and practice which have been influenced by political, societal and economic factors.

In recent years, the Australian early childhood field has undergone similar changes through the introduction of the national curriculum, quality framework and ongoing systemic reviews by the Australian Productivity Commission regarding the National Quality Framework and the flexibility of the field, as well as reviews by the Australian Skills Quality Authority regarding the quality of early childhood courses offered by Registered Training Organisations.

Consequently, educators have needed to understand the shifting discourses associated with this rapid sequence of changes. Though, the Educational Change literature specifies that an eight to seventeen year process is required for meaningful and sustained change to occur, this timeframe has not been provisioned within the early childhood context and therefore warrants further exploration into where educators are positioned within this change process.

Early childhood educators are invited to contribute to an important research study being conducted through Monash University which aims to investigate the perceptions and experiences of educators in the field regarding the recent early childhood reforms.

In particular, this project seeks to explore how educators have experienced the transitions and changes associated with these reforms, and whether educators feel that their pre-service training and professional development opportunities have effectively supported them in applying these reforms to their pedagogical practice.

This study requests the participation of 24 Diploma and Bachelor qualified educators (qualified prior to, or following the 2009 reforms) who are currently working in Long Day Care, Kindergarten or School-based settings in the southeast region of Melbourne.

As time can be a major issue and scarce resource for educators in the field, the time and location of the interviews can be flexible to suit the needs of educators. It is hoped that educators can contribute a small portion of their time to engage in a single interview or alternatively, a focus group interview with other colleagues who may also be interested in the study.

It is anticipated that the findings from this research will benefit the field by providing new understandings of how educators experience curriculum changes in their day to day practice.

This information will help providers of pre-service teacher education and professional development programs to adapt their courses to more closely meet the needs of early childhood educators working in the field.

Furthermore, it is predicted that this research will provide insight for early childhood policy-makers regarding the effectiveness of reform development and implementation strategies. These new understandings will contribute to knowledge and inspire new theory, practice and policy regarding how the field can better support the preparation and engagement of educators throughout reform initiatives.

If any educators are interested in contributing to this research and would like further information, please contact the author and chief researcher at your earliest convenience through the following link: lauren.armstrong@monash.edu
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