Health-Education (HE) in Early Childhood Education (ECE) is essential for a healthy child development according to our society standards. The Portuguese ECE guidelines were designed to help preschool teachers (PT) develop an appropriate practice and encourage the HE, but the lack of follow-up studies prevents the accurate evaluation of the impact of these measures. This study aimed to design and validate a statistical instrument that analyses PT perceptions of current HE practices in order to provide the ECE community meaningful information for the improvement of future early childhood health education teaching. In this paper we describe the designing process and discuss the usefulness of a questionnaire named HEPS in achieving this goal. The study consisted of three phases: identifying items for the instrument through semi-structured interviews; pilot testing the initial instrument with a group of 41 preschool teachers and evaluation by panel of seven experts in the field. The instrument was analyzed for reliability and validity throughout the entire process. An 75 item version of the HEPS had good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha of 0.89) and a test-retest reliability coefficient of 0.85. Factor analyses yielded four subscales: HE and training, HE planning, HE level of comfort and children health related needs. Overall, the HEPS is an easy to complete instrument to assess teachers’ perceptions of HE in preschool settings, with a reasonable validity and reliability. It is also to our knowledge the first instrument of this kind to be implemented in Portugal thus making it a relevant statistical tool for teachers and policy makers.
|Keywords:||Early Childhood Education, Health Education, Teacher, Questionnaire, Reliability, Test-Retest|
Ph.D Student, Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Associate Professor, Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
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