Preschool Teacher Competence from the Perspective of Early Childhood Education and Care Student Teacher
Keywords:early childhood education and care, learning environment and relationships, preschool teacher competence, student teacher perspective
The goal of this paper is to determine how senior students at the end of the ECEC university graduate study program assess the level of development of preschool teachers’ competence and to explore dimensions of preschool teachers’ competence from the students’ perspective. The research was conducted in Croatia, where, in line with other European countries, the initial education of ECEC teachers has been radically reformed by upgrading all initial ECEC teacher education programs from professional studies to university programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. The research comprised 191 participants, student teachers that were at the moment of the research at the end of their master’s ECEC program. Answers were collected via online questionnaire. The collected results suggest a conclusion that preschool teachers at the end of their ECEC study program are centred towards their performance, or the aspect of “what we do” in everyday work. They focus on the child and the child’s environment (both physical and social). On the other hand, they are less involved and prepared for acting at the level of the education system and contribution to the improvement of educational theory and policy. They perceive four dimensions of preschool teachers’ competence: theory, practices, beliefs and learning environment and relationships.
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