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Preschool Education Training: Skills in Adapting to a Changing Society prepared for the 2001 Pan-Canadian Education Research Agenda (PCERA) Symposium Université Laval May 22-23, 2001. Presentation Plan. Introduction: origins of kindergarten teaching

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Preschool Education Training:

Skills in Adapting to a Changing Society

prepared for the

2001 Pan-Canadian Education Research Agenda

(PCERA) Symposium

Université Laval

May 22-23, 2001


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Presentation Plan

  • Introduction: origins of kindergarten teaching

  • Current directions in preschool education: new mandates, new skills

  • A changing high-tech society: who's it for?

  • The basis of the compensatory mandate in terms of technology education in kindergarten

  • The current situation

  • Conclusion: new curricula for new needs


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1. Introduction

1.1 Kindergarten teaching or the child care function,

multiple but similar origins

An historically social role, but one that is compensatory in nature

  • Help for working mothers: a continental phenomenon

    First kindergarten classes in public schools:Wisconsin (1873), Toronto (1883), Montreal (1892)

  • A late distinction between compensatory care role and role of preschool education as preparation for integrating into school


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1. Introduction

1.2 Kindergarten teaching in North American since the 1970s has reduced the compensatory function by putting provisions in place (protection factors) to counter the effects of deficiencies in the ability to stimulate the family environment (risk factors).

  • Preschool teaching differs from elementary teaching in that it:

    • essentially has a mission of socialization and secondarily of education

    • a complementary, implicitly recognized mission of mothering and child care


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1. Introduction

1.2 (continued)

  • Preschool education is generally designed for all children as a transition between education in the family and education in the community (Terrisse, 1998)


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2. Current directions in preschool education

  • New mandates

    • To promote the early integration of children with disabilities or mental deficiencies

    • To promote the sociocultural integration of members of cultural (ethnic) communities in a multiethnic context


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2. Current directions in preschool education

  • New mandates (continued)

    • To reduce developmental gaps between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds

    • To offset the effects of "new family realities" on children's cognitive and cognitive development


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2. Current directions in preschool education

  • Pre-service training in new skills required

    • Few programs offer specific pre-service training in kindergarten intervention; undergraduate programs are focused on elementary or primary teaching, but qualify teachers for preschool (kindergarten) teaching


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2. Current directions in preschool education

  • Pre-service training in new skills required (continued)

    • An interesting exception: the B.Ed. program at University of Brandon, which subdivides training into qualifying fields (K-4), thus recognizing the specific nature of educational needs of children in junior and intermediate elementary grades


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2. Current directions in preschool education

  • Pre-service training in new skills required (continued)

    • In Quebec, although programs qualify teachers for preschool and primary teaching, practice teaching at the preschool level is not widespread, and curricula offer only one to three compulsory courses specific to this field

    • Specific skills that receive emphasis depend on provincial syllabus (e.g. multiculturalism, Ontario and Alberta)


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3.A changing high-tech society: who's it for?

3.1 ICTs and the family: are changes the same for everyone?

  • The penetration of home computers and particularly telematics is heavily affected by household income and parents' level of education (Dryburgh, 2001)

  • The profile of degree of penetration of Internet use is determined by the same variables -- statistics are equivalent for Canada and the U.S. (Becker, 2000a; Bucy, 2000)


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3.A changing high-tech society: who's it for?

3.1ICTs and the family: are changes the same for everyone?(continued)

  • The profile of "instructional" use of ICTs in families, and particularly the parents' ability or propensity to use computers as a context for interactive education of their children, differ with the same variables, regardless of country (Becker, 2000; Orleans and Laney, 2000; (Tarozzi and Bertolini, 2000)


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3.A changing high-tech society: who's it for?

3.2ICTs and school: are usage profiles the same for everyone?

  • In Canada as in the U.S., the majority of schools have a computer/pupil ratio that ensures opportunities for regular access for everyone (CEMEC-CSCE, 2000)

  • In Canada as in the U.S., the large majority of schools have networked computer labs and at least one workstation per class with Internet access (elementary) (Becker, 2000b; CEMEC-CSCE, 2000)


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3.A changing high-tech society: who's it for?

3.2ICTs and school: are usage profiles the same for everyone?(continued)

  • Profiles of instructional computer usage differ among teachers, particularly depending on socioeconomic status of clientele served (Becker and Ravitz, 1998)

  • The profile of instructional computer usage is affected by the compensatory role assigned to preschool education


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4. Basis of the compensatory mandate

4.1Compensating for sociocognitive inequalities:

Recognized effectiveness of instructional use of ICTs in terms of:

  • Compensatory stimulation for development of language register and argumentative functions (Fallon, Light and Paige, 2001)

  • Prior learning in exploration of academic subjects (Hitchcock and Noonan, 2000)


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4. Basis of the compensatory mandate

4.1Compensating for sociocognitive inequalities:

Recognized effectiveness of instructional use of ICTs in terms of: (continued)

  • Development of reading readiness (Mioduser, Tur-Kaspa and Leitner, 2000; Whitehurst and Lonigan, 1998)

  • Development of cognitive and behavioral skills in the kindergarten classroom, with adult mediation (Klein, Nir-Gal and Darom, 2000)


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4. Basis of the compensatory mandate

4.2 Compensating for social inequalities vis-à-vis new technology

Recognition of compensatory function with regard to computer literacy

  • Preventing academic performance gaps among students of various socioeconomic origins, based on type of human/machine interaction (Attewell and Battle, 1999; Subrahmanyam, Kraut, Greenfield and Gross, 2000)

  • Preventing social gaps when faced with high-tech requirements of the child's future occupational environment (MEBC, 1999; MENB, 1998; MÉQ, 1996)


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5. Current situation

  • A hybrid mandate and uncertain status of kindergarten teaching: the compensatory function and the academic integration function

  • Non-specific pre-service training not allowing qualification in response to the many roles of preschool education

  • Pre-service training deficient in terms of qualification for instructional use of ICTs


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5. Current situation (continued)

  • Inadequate material conditions in terms of technology hardware for instructional purposes in kindergarten classrooms

  • Working teachers who have learned on the job to respond to the many needs of varied clienteles

  • Variability in qualifications reinforced by the impact of modelling (practica) on development of teaching profiles among teachers entering the profession


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6. Conclusion: New curricula for new needs

  • Emphasis to be placed on continuing education

  • Integrating aspects (teaching specificity of educational intervention in early childhood / specificity of social needs affecting early childhood to be developed within pre-service teacher training programs


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6. Conclusion: New curricula for new needs (continued)

  • Training that avoids compartmentalization of "middle class children/low-income children" resulting in attribution of specific role to pre-K (age 4) identified as disadvantaged, and kindergarten (age 5) for everyone

  • Consideration given to technology hardware requirements and mastering computer skills among working kindergarten teachers in developing attribution of practicum locations (practical training)