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DOI

10.14221/ajte.2010v35n3.1

Abstract

This study examined the experiences of three primary teacher education students participating in early childhood-focused community play sessions, as well as their perceptions of early childhood and primary philosophy and pedagogy. The purpose was to explore perceived differences in primary and early childhood pre-service teacher courses, which may then translate to differences in approaches to pedagogy in the field. Three pre-service teachers participated in a weekly community play session on a rural university campus in NSW, Australia. As these students had been educated in primary education pedagogy, a focus group interview was conducted to gain insights to their experiences in the play sessions, which had an early childhood emphasis in theory and practice. Qualitative analysis suggests that these students found several major differences in their early childhood and primary experiences. Themes and properties that emerged included Pedagogy (curriculum, parents, play) and Foundational Knowledge (developmental theory, discontinuity of development). These primary students found the idea of developing curriculum based on observations and interests rather than mandated Syllabus outcomes, challenging. Also, they found the role of play and parent-teacher relationships in early childhood and primary to differ. Students also noted a lack of foundational developmental theory, specifically in the birth-two period, in their teacher education course, and expressed the idea that younger children are discretely different from older children, rather than seeing development as a continuous process. Implications for teacher education courses and children’s transition to school are discussed.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.14221/ajte.2010v35n3.1