Let the Research show: educator preparation is vital to outcomes for children
Early childhood educators play a critical role in supporting the development of children, with research showing that the quality of interactions between children and educators is one of the strongest predictors of learning outcomes in early childhood.
Additional research shows the difference that a more effective and less effective teacher can have on the lifelong effects of children’s learning and income potential. Given the body of research existing on these topics, many advocates and policy makers are keen to understand more about how to prepare educators to work in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.
The United States of America have recently explored this issue in their context via the newly released publication “Let the Research show: Developing the Research to Improve Early Childhood Teacher Preparation”.
The publication is an attempt to collate available research on how an ECEC educator’s preparation affects their effectiveness in the classroom. Currently, there is a lack of clarity in the research about what high-quality preparation looks like in the United States, with a disparity between the resources and supports available to educators from state to state.
The publication proposes a research agenda to build on current knowledge about ECEC educator preparation, and to fill knowledge gaps. Specific attention is directed to a call for further research into the type of preparation practices, and the content that leads to effective ECEC educators.
Researchers caution that the work to introduce consistency and improve the preparation for ECEC educators should not replace robust research, with authors of the work compelling policy makers to design a more flexible policy environment that encourages program experimentation, builds on best practice, and can be refined as more research becomes available.