It is often expressed that quality early childcare and education depends on whether staff are qualified and how high their qualification level is (a three year training course is deemed better than a two year course, a degree is considered better than a diploma, a Masters degree is better than a Bachelors degree etc).
In the video clip below it is explained that it's not holding a qualification that matters for quality for children, but the adults actual effectiveness and ability in working with young children.
The adults' personal characteristics are important, along with whether the adult is able to translate the theory they have learnt into good practices for individual and groups of children.
Training can help to weed out those people who may not be good at working with young children. But on the other hand the longer the training is and the more it costs the more likely that some people who are very good with young children are also weeded out of the profession. The more that it is within the power of tertiary education providers to determine who is a suitable candidate to be accepted into training and therefore to work with young children, the more that the early childhood workforce will reflect the tertiary education providers views of who is suitable. For example, parents might want men to be employed as teachers but tertiary education providers may be unable or unwilling to put effort into recruiting male students and making sure they are supported and don't drop out.
Nevertheless in early childhood services that are staffed (ie. not run by parents) it is reassuring for parents and better for children for staff to have received a high level of training and hold a suitable qualification. For an article that discusses "Are Qualified Teachers Really Necessary" published in Education Today - The Magazine of the Future, No. 6, 2010 click here for a PDF copy .
Requiring adults who are caring for and educating children who are not their own children, to have formal training ensures (or should ensure) that the adult has developed good observation skills, can reflect on their own learning and question and continually improve their own practices with children, knows about child development, knows how to set up activities and maintain children's interest etc, etc, etc.
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