O'Connor, D., McGunnigle, C., Treasure, T., & Davie, S. (2014). Teachers who care and carers who educate. Professional status issues and differences in pay and conditions are resulting in a tale of division within our Early Childhood Community. 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation. http://doi.org/http://library.iated.org/
This paper presents the findings of a research project that investigated the views of a group of pre-service teachers both before and after their exposure to practice within professional Childcare. A mixed methods approach was employed. Thirty students in their third year of a four year teaching degree at The University of Notre Dame, Australia were surveyed and interviewed before and after embarking on a ten week practicum within the Childcare sector.
A key finding of the study was that there is currently great division within the Western Australian Early Childhood Education sector. This division has arisen following a recent Government policy decision that requires qualified teachers to be employed in Childcare Services by 2014. However, the current lead educators within these care based settings are resentful of the implication that qualified teachers are needed to improve consistency and quality in the early years. This resentment coupled with the lower levels of pay and conditions within Childcare settings in comparison to schools serves to make Childcare an unattractive prospect for qualified teachers. However, when the reasons for the resentment are explored, they expose an inequity of status that challenges the identity of those on both sides of the divide within what should be a community… a community of educators with the shared goal of supporting the holistic education of Western Australia’s youngest children.
This paper makes a necessary contribution to the current research context where research on perspectives of teacher-educators within Childcare is limited. It is particularly pertinent in the context of the implementation of the policy requiring a qualified teacher to be employed within Childcare settings from 2014 onwards. The central message of the research is that this community needs healing and support in order to move beyond the power struggle to be free to educate children within their related and equally important spheres of expertise.
teachers, early childhood, early years, educations, childcare, community, status, educators, educarers