Elucidating the dilemma of P1 in Western Australian Schools: Towards a solution
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Education, Fogarty Learning Centre
Currently in Western Australian schools, the early childhood education profession faces profound change, as a result of changes to classroom combinations. One of these is an innovation called ‘P1’, which involves grouping pre-primary and year 1 students in the one class. Unlike other composite primary year classes, P1 demands an amalgamation of early childhood and primary curriculum and philosophy. To date, the basis on which P1 curriculum is to be built has yet to be established. No formal process been articulated for dealing with the ideological differences and beliefs that exist in schools with respect to early childhood and primary education. This article draws on a five-year Western Australia (WA) study, which examined teachers' conceptual and behavioural positions toward P1. The findings indicated a need for leadership, specialised staff, resolution of philosophical differences, curriculum guidelines, quality support structures and the enhancement of school and community relationships. There were also concerns that government and curriculum expertise had not kept pace with the needs of staff.