Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Perceptions of School Counselors and Principals towards New Psychological Counseling and Guidance Services in Early Childhood Education in Turkey*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Perceptions of School Counselors and Principals towards New Psychological Counseling and Guidance Services in Early Childhood Education in Turkey*

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to understand the perceptions of the school administrators and psychological guidance counselors towards guidance service for early childhood education. The main objective of the study was to comprehend the perceptions of the administrators, and guidance counselors in regards to the psychological services given in pre-school. This study was qualitative in nature and data collection was conducted using qualitative methods. Data collection was conducted through the collection of personal information and open-ended questions on a survey. A descriptive content analysis method was used in analyzing the data and each author carried this out. The authors agreed on the main themes that emerged from the data. The findings suggest that the psychological counselors and administrators had not received enough education to apply counseling to pre-school child. Especially at the undergraduate level, courses were very limited and insufficient in preparing counselors for that particular age group. Specific training is needed for that age level so that guidance counselors feel confident that they may be able to provide knowledgeable guidance services in the early childhood age group. This is crucial because we know that there are many advantages to early intervention. This type of service is necessary if we want children to develop to their full potential.

Key Words

Perceptions, School Counselors, Principals, New Psychological Counseling and Guidance Services, Early Childhood Education, Pre-school, Turkey.

Today education is increasingly crucial. Particularly because brain development of children is at its highest level between 0 - 6 years, awareness of preschool education in states, organizations and families have increased. Each and every child comes to school with different behaviors, interests and experiences. Desired results in the child's education might only be achieved by means of preschool education programs (Curtis, 1986 cited in Ugurlu, 2010). Information with regards to rapid developments of the children who live in innovative environmental conditions (Arnas, 2002), might be the indicator for the necessity of education given during the pre-school education period (cited in Ugurlu, 2010).

The role of the educators in children's' education is important. According to Mialaret (1976); discoveries made in the sciences of psychology, biology, and sociology have helped comprehend the nature of children. Today, society regards the child as an individual. Honor and value given to the child in the guidelines with respect to rights of the children have started to rise in the 20th century. Learning during early childhood is easier than learning at later ages (Berlinski et al., 2006; Chiswick & DebBurman, 2004). Investments made in the early childhood years are more constructive and more result accomplishing. Services provided to children between the ages of 3 - 5 are a great infrastructure for preliminary education. Research has shown that early participation in pre-school education positively influences behavioral skills of the students. Behavioral skills such as discipline, power control, and attendance to lessons acquired during pre-school education ease socialization and self-control process of the students in elementary education years (as cited in Ugurlu, 2010).

What do 3 and 4 Year Olds do?

During the ages of 3 and 4, preschool children's minds are amazing. They are not limited by rules and there are no boundaries to their thoughts. In fact, Pearce (1977) describes 4 year olds thinking as magical thinking; it does not require that it be tested against reality. During these years, thinking is incredible and hopeful (Pearce). It is as if by thinking you can change reality and therefore witches can cast spells, princesses can be magical, and dreams can be real. We also see that a matchbox can be a pirate ship thrashing against the big waves of the ocean as they journey to find the hidden treasures of unknown islands. …

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