Communities of Practice: Innovation in Early Childhood Education and Care Teacher and Practitioner Preparation

By Karen Noble.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In early childhood education and care (ECEC), research indicates that quality experiences for young children are a result of the partnership between committed professionals who facilitate collaborative high quality programs. Furthermore, it is clear that practice within the ECEC sector has become more complex. Indeed, practitioners in this field are now required to heavily focus upon the care and welfare components of their practice because context issues are impacting on their work with young children. As such, practitioners are often required to deal with issues that could be considered to be outside of the realm of traditional educational training. Such issues are impacting on teachers and practitioners in relation to how they see themselves as professionals in the workplace. This situation can be troubling and problematic, as practitioners seek to negotiate the complexities of engaging in practice across social and disciplinary boundaries.

This paper explores an innovative approach to preparing students for such complex work, by way of the development of a community of practice, in which students, supervisors and university academic staff engage in a collaborative process of critical reflection to interrogate practice and to make connections to relevant theoretical frameworks that draw on a multidisciplinary approach.

Keywords: Critical Reflection, Practicum, Beginning Teachers and Practitioners, Community of Practice

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp.133-138. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 534.874KB).

Dr. Karen Noble

Dr Karen Noble brings significant expertise to early childhood education and care, with 17 years experience in the fields of education, child development and human services. During this time she has worked in various practice settings, including childcare, preschool, early primary years and tertiary settings. Karen has undertaken a variety of research across this sector. Some of Dr Noble's most recent research focuses on parental choice of early years services. Additionally, she has published significantly in the areas of child and youth welfare and educational innovation. Aspects of Dr Noble's research have been presented to prestigious research meetings in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Cuba. Her work is also being published in the academic and professional literature and stands to make a contribution to policy and practice in the early years.


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