Walsh G & Gardner J (2006) Teachers' readiness to embrace change in the early years of schooling: A Northern Ireland perspective. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 14 (2), pp. 127-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/13502930285209961
Early years classroom practice in Northern Ireland is perceived to be dominated by a traditional teacher-directed model to the detriment of a more constructivist, play-based and child-initiated learning environment favoured in many nations' early education provision (see for example Walsh, 2000). In 2002, the Northern Ireland Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) outlined an ambitious change in the early years curriculum, designed to redress this balance and to adopt classroom practices and pedagogies that have been shown to provide a strong basis for children's later learning and social integration. The full curriculum proposal (CCEA, 2005) is based on trials of an ‘enriched curriculum' approach, which blends play, child-initiated activity and the promotion of self-esteem in a Foundation Stage of early years education. This paper reports on the likely state of readiness of early years teachers, specifically Year 1 teachers who are the first to receive children entering primary school in the age range 4-5 years, to adopt the underpinning child-centred dimensions of the proposed pedagogies.
Curriculum change; early years; professional development; pedagogical change; play-based learning
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal: Volume 14, Issue 2