Read about the Swedish policy surrounding early childhood education and care (ECEC). It states that while Sweden’s ECEC is ranked highly globally, there is significant variation in the quality of care depending on the specific environment.
This research supports the benefits of having students work in subgroups in preschool, but it’s surprising that there hasn’t been more investigation into why preschool teachers do this, or how they plan it. A few studies have shown that subgroups are often organized randomly, without much thought, and are mainly used to help with classroom management issues. This study is trying to add to the knowledge of this practice by looking at why preschool teachers organize the whole group into subgroups.
Children’s Early Learning: A Research Project
The intention of the study is to observe how well children do in different areas of learning, like language and communication or early mathematics, depending on the quality of preschool they attend. But before we begin, let’s look at the quality of preschools through empirical evidence.
The quality of 38 preschools was evaluated using a revised and adapted version of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) (Harms & Clifford, 1980). The ECERS consists of 30 items grouped into seven subscales, which are scored from 1 (inadequate) to 7 (excellent). The subscales are personal care routines of children, furnishings, and displays for children, language reasoning experiences, fine and gross motor activities, creative activities, social development, and adult needs.
It has been statistically analyzed that there is a significant variation in quality among preschools, as well as differences between the two evaluations of quality. The external evaluation has a mean value of 4.44, while the mean value for the 120 teachers’ internal evaluations is 5.19. Teachers rated their work higher than the researchers did, but when looked at closer, there are some items that were assessed differently.
The subscales with the lowest total mean values, as seen in Table 1, are Language experiences and Motor activities, both of which were externally evaluated. The subscales that the teachers evaluated as being of lower quality are Furnishings and displays and Social development, with total mean values of (4.96 and 4.98 respectively). Personal care was evaluated as being of higher quality by both the teachers and the researchers, with total mean values of (4.72 and 5.80 respectively).
The researchers found a significant difference in the way the teachers evaluated the quality of their preschools. The teachers in the 32 preschools that were externally evaluated as being of low or good quality tended to evaluate their preschools higher than the external evaluators did. However, the 5 teachers in preschools that were externally evaluated as being of high quality seemed to underestimate the quality of their preschools. This can be interpreted to mean that the teachers in the preschools that were evaluated as being of low quality by the researchers tended to value their work in line with the intentions in the preschool curriculum. However, it seems to be the other way round for the teachers in the preschools that were externally evaluated as being of high quality. Even though they were aware of their professionalism, they were also critical and appeared to seek new challenges to improve the quality of their preschools.
The external evaluation shows that children learn best when they are in a high-quality preschool. High-quality preschools have teachers who are aware of how children learn, and who have enough space and resources to teach effectively. The teachers in high-quality preschools also communicate well with the children, and have a back-and-forth relationship with them.
In high-quality preschools, the learning environment provides plenty of opportunities for children to grow and learn. These preschools are observed to have ongoing activities for children to participate in, and the teachers’ focus is on the children’s interests, experiences, and understanding of the goals for preschool. The teachers interact with the children from a mutual perspective, communicating and focusing on similar learning objectives. The teachers also interact with the children to make the best use of resources and promote the children’s learning, participation, and influence.
Children’s Language and Communication
A study was conducted involving 215 children aged 1-3 years to observe their language and communication skills. The child’s teacher would read a story from a book, and after, the child would be asked to retell the story using the artifacts given. The situation was video-recorded and transcribed using a phenomenographic approach which resulted in four different categories of children’s language and communication.
Inference includes children’s involvement in the book, where they reflect on what they see and hear and relate it to their own experiences. The children often stop the teacher and ask questions. In the last category, D, integration, children try to connect the book with their previous experiences and knowledge. There is a variation in how children react to the text/figures of the book, which other researchers have shown earlier (Langer, 2005). From an analysis of the book-reading situation as a whole, four patterns of qualitatively different categories emerged: A) Being focused, B) Acting, C) Inference, and D) Integration. Being focused means that children participate in the “reading situation” by focussing their attention on the book, which is evident from their eyes, bodies, and facial expressions. The children nod and express emotions. Category B, acting, indicates that the children participate by gestures and verbal expressions while the teacher reads the book. The children often point to things in the book, label them, and notice details. They use language expressions and/or repeat some sentences from the book. Inference includes children’s involvement in the book, where they reflect on what they seeThe children make connections to the story through communication and play, which means they go beyond the perspective of “here and now” and add something new to the story by remembering or imagining something that wasn’t in the book. They make their own interpretations. Finally, category D, Integration, means that the children are engaged and participate with great interest, talk about and connect the story to the bigger picture. When the children retell the story by playing with the artifacts, they not only make references to what happened in the story, but also expand the story and make their own interpretations.
Identification of Classes
As a result, the two-class model was determined to be the best LPA solution The best model determined by Latent Profile Analysis had two classes, which were both better than the three- and four-class solutions, based on statistical and substantive reasoning. Table 3 presents the model fit information criteria, the statistical tests, and the entropy values associated with each LPA model. The two-class solution was better than the three- and four-class solutions based on the decreasing numbers of the AIC, BIC, and ABIC between the two- and three-class models, as well as the non-significant p-values between the two- and three-class models from the LMR-LRT tests. When examining the three-class model, it did not make substantive sense, as there was one small class with very few individuals (0.02% of the sample). The substantive reasoning for the two-class model being the best solution is also supported by the LPA fit statistics in Table 3.This text is discussing the results of a study on the quality of classification of individual preschool teachers. The study found that the latent class separation was strong, with little overlap between the two classes. The average probability of belonging to latent class one was 1, and the average probability of belonging to latent class two was 0.997. The study found that there were no significant differences across classes in terms of the auxiliary variables used to predict latent class membership.
Profiles of Preschool Teachers’ Intentions
This profile has a high emphasis on grouping practices for promoting student learning (M = 1.85) and for providing various learning opportunities to all students (M = 1.62). The two-class model revealed that there are two different types of preschool teachers when it comes to grouping practices. Profile 1 contains the most preschool teachers in the sample (573; 82.1%), and Profile 2 contains 125 preschool teachers (17.9%). Table 4 shows the estimated means of each intentional indicator, given preschool teachers’ latent class membership. Low estimated means of each indicator (close to 1) correspond to a high emphasis on the respective indicator, as they are rank-ordered variables, with 1 representing high importance and 11 representing low importance. Profile 1 consists of the majority of preschool teachers, indicating that this is the more prevalent profile. This profile has a high emphasis on grouping practices for promoting student learning (M = 1.85) and for providing various learning opportunities to all students (M = 1.62).Profile 2 consists of preschool teachers who have low means in sound level, teacher-initiated activities, calm working environment, opportunities for children to find playmates, and others. The indicator working with a specific learning object was emphasized by preschool teachers in both profiles.
In conclusion, this study provides evidence that preschool teachers hold both child-centered and adult-led perspectives when it comes to grouping practices. These perspectives are shaped by ecological resources, societal values, and educational policy goals. Additionally, this study found that managing physical and structural preschool conditions is given more importance by preschool teachers who are organizationally focused.This study raises the question of what aspects are prioritized by preschool teachers for optimizing children’s learning and development when they plan and implement grouping practices. Different perspectives create different quality conditions for children’s well-being, learning, and development. From this perspective, these results can contribute to the design of CPD initiatives to prioritize the types of specialized knowledge needed for certain preschool teachers and across distinctive work settings and conditions.