The role of practice-based experiences in undergraduates’ infant/toddler caregiving competencies
Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
Practice-based coursework in higher education programs is considered a critical aspect of early childhood practitioner preparation. Many undergraduates also have formal (e.g., childcare) or informal (e.g., nannying, babysitting) work experience outside of their degree programs, which may influence their caregiving competencies. In this study we used an online survey to investigate how undergraduates’ practice-based experiences, both educational and work-related, influence their knowledge about young children’s development and aspects of their infant/toddler (I/T) caregiving skills over the course of an academic term (e.g., semester). At the beginning of the term, we found that both formal and informal work experience supported undergraduates’ (N = 1302) knowledge of I/T development, and that prior practicum coursework was significantly associated with both knowledge of I/T development and caregiving skills, as assessed by responses to caregiving vignettes. At the end of the term, predictors of change in undergraduates’ (N = 952) skills for working with young children were enrollment in a second or later practicum course and formal work experience. In contrast, informal work experience was associated with change in knowledge of I/T development. Implications for I/T teacher preparation within higher education are discussed.
Child and Adolescent Development
Maria Fusaro, Christine N. Lippard, Gina A. Cook, Kalli B. Decker, and Claire D. Vallotton. "The role of practice-based experiences in undergraduates’ infant/toddler caregiving competencies" Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education (2022): 540-553. https://doi.org/10.1080/10901027.2021.1954566