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Infant and Toddler Course Content and the Teacher Education Pipeline in NYC

Start Date October 2018 End Date March 2020
Keywords teacher preparation infant toddler

Description

The focus of this research study is to explore the early childhood education (ECE) curriculum offered in NYC undergraduate institutions of higher education that offer teacher preparation programs as it relates to infants and toddlers.  This project has two purposes to: 1) examine the scope of course content and fieldwork opportunities focused on infants and toddlers provided in NYC undergraduate programs, and 2) analyze the teacher education pipeline, career pathways and professional development opportunities afforded to infant/toddler educators and leaders.  We anticipate that this work will analyze how NYC undergraduate ECE preservice programs are preparing early childhood educators to work with infants and toddlers, which has not been explored.  This work will build on existing literature (Chu, 2016; Rockel, 2014; White et al., 2016) that explored how teacher education programs prepare professionals to work with infants and toddlers in other locations.

Design

This project is an exploratory case study. This case study will explore the professional identify that infant/ toddler professionals develop during their preservice years and as they work in the field. The researchers will use various data sources, replicating the work of Chu (2016) and Rockel (2014).  Both Chu (2016) and Rockel (2014) examined the depth and breadth of course content relating to infant/toddlers within ECE programs in Washington State (Chu, 2016) and New Zealand, (Rockel, 2014).  The research will begin with an in-depth examination of current documentation of the NYC ECE programs, articulations and transfer credits; the purpose is to identify strengths, gaps, and pathways to fortify infant/toddler preparation.  Course titles and course descriptions, syllabi and any additional relevant ECE materials available on college websites will be collected. Researchers will engage in a document analysis of the information following Creswell’s (2008) protocol. Once all data is gathered and the document analysis is complete, faculty of all the ECE programs will be contacted to confirm or correct the data. Data will be organized and coded; codes will be used to create a matrix of Infant/toddler Higher Education Course Criteria similar to what Chu (2016) created. This matrix will use the Core Body of Knowledge: New York States Core Competencies for Early Child Educators (2012). 

During the second phase of data collection, faculty who teach in NYC undergraduate ECE programs will be contacted to complete Chu’s (2016) Early Childhood Higher Education Program Self-Assessment for Infant-Toddler Content survey.   The self-assessment asks faculty to rate two components of a course: 1) the frequency or depth that eight infant/toddler teacher competencies occur within the course content, and 2) the level of field application within the course. Survey data will be analyzed, percentages and response frequencies will be calculated.

Finally, four focus groups will be arranged with current and former students in NYC ECE programs. Students will be recruited from programs offering a infant/toddler specialization. Separate focus groups will be held for the following groups: 1) students currently enrolled in each program, 2) students who transferred to other educational institutions to continue their education, and 3) graduates who are working with infants and toddlers. Former students will be recruited from alumni databases and the NYC ASPIRE registry.

Researchers

Jennifer Gilken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Jennifer Longley, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Jillian Crosby, M.S.Ed., Instructor of Early Childhood Education, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Contributing Institutions

Borough of Manhattan Community College

Resources

Authored October 0019
Authors

Jennifer M. Longley & Jennifer M. Gilken

Institutions Borough of Manhattan Community College
Type Journal Article Abstract

Early childhood educators often experience inequality, earning less and having poorer working conditions and fewer professional requirements than K-12 educators. The disparity also exists among early childhood educators: those who work with infants and toddlers receive the lowest pay, have fewer professional development opportunities, need fewer preservice credentials, and are less respected by society than are K-2 teachers. Infant-toddler educators need to reclaim their profession. This paper argues that community colleges have a crucial role in preparing infant-toddler professionals and are therefore vital in the reclamation of infant-toddler education.

Authored December 2019
Authors

Jen Gilken; Jen Longley, & Jillian Crosby

Institutions Borough of Manhattan Community College
Type Presentation

This poster was shared at the New York City Early Childhood Research Network Research symposium on December 6, 2019. The presentation previews background information and insights from the study of Infant-Toddler Course Content and the Teacher Education Pipeline in Undergraduate Early Childhood Programs.

Authored March 2020
Authors

Jennifer M. Gilken, Jennifer M. Longley, Jillian Crosby

Institutions Borough of Manhattan Community College
Type Presentation

This presentation was given at the New York City Early Childhood Research Network meeting on March 4, 2020.  The presentation previews key findings and preliminary recommendations from the study examining the Infant-Toddler course content and the teacher education pipeline in New York State.