Date of this Version
Child and Youth Care Forum (2013). DOI: 10.1007/s10566-013-9213-2.
Background Teacher qualifications have been emphasized as a basis of professional development to improve classroom practices for at-risk children’s school readiness. However, teacher qualifications have often not been compared to another form of professional development, in-service training.
Objective The current study attempts to investigate contributions of multiple types of professional development to school readiness skills of low-income preschoolers. Specifically, we examined the significance of teachers’ education level, degree, teaching certificate, teaching experiences as well as specialized in-service training and coaching support as these teacher trainings are linked to preschoolers’ school readiness through proximal classroom practices.
Method We used a multi-level path analysis to examine multiple pathways from teachers’ professional development to classroom environments and school readiness with Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2003 (N = 2,159).
Results Teachers with an early childhood education major provided higher-quality provision for learning and social-emotional practices in the classroom; teachers who received coaching provided higher-quality social-emotional and parent involvement practices. Further, children in higher-quality social-emotional classrooms had better math skills, social skills and learning behaviors; children in the classrooms with higher-quality parent involvement practices had higher receptive vocabulary and parent-reported social skills and positive approaches to learning.
Conclusions Along with early childhood education degree, ongoing coaching support would work effectively, improving classroom environments and a broad array of school readiness skills of at-risk children.