McInnes, E., Whitington, V., Colmer, K., Sisson, J. & Scales, M. (2017). A multi-dimensional approach to pedagogical development in long day care centres. NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 20(1), 46-58.
Original Research Paper
A multi-dimensional approach to pedagogical development in long day care centres
Since 2013 Australian Long Day Care Centres have offered universal access to four year olds to a preschool programme for fifteen hours per week, led by a four year early childhood degree qualified teacher. The South Australian Department for Education and Child Development funded research and consultancy to strengthen universal access to preschool programmes in child care centres. This study reports on a project developed by Gowrie SA and the University of South Australia. The aim of the research reported in this paper was to investigate the efficacy of the suite of learning options intended to improve preschool programme quality. The project used an action research approach with multiple learning options offered to directors, teachers and other educators to establish site-based Professional Learning Communities. The University of South Australia investigated the suite of learning options using both qualitative and quantitative data with the aim of determining their efficacy. This paper reports on that investigation. The engagement of directors in pedagogical leadership was found to be vital to creating teamwork and enabling early childhood teachers to work in collaboration with a group of educators. Teachers and directors engaged in critical reflective practices, resulting in curriculum innovations that were integrated into preschool programmes. This paper argues that both centre leadership, and educators’ extended engagement in professional learning communities are central to transforming Long Day Care Centres to become effective providers of universal access to preschool programmes.
Key words: Preschool programmes; leadership; professional learning; action research.
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