Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

A Croatian Study of Practitioners' and Kindergarten Teacher Students' Opinions of Their Role in Children's Lives

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

A Croatian Study of Practitioners' and Kindergarten Teacher Students' Opinions of Their Role in Children's Lives

Article excerpt

In the project Methods and Models in the Education of Preschool Children in Kindergartens conducted at the Faculty of Teacher Education in Zagreb, we were interested in practitioners' and kindergarten teacher students' opinions, motivation, satisfaction, expectations and attitudes with regard to their work. Two open-ended questions regarding the role of the kindergarten teacher in children's lives, were set as a separate mini-questionnaire. For the purposes of this particular study, practitioners (N=69) and first-year university kindergarten teacher students (N=65) had to complete two sentences: "Children are like...because ..." and "Kindergarten teachers are like... because...". Their responses were content analysed and then compared. Analysis shows that both students and kindergarten teachers perceive children in a very positive way and evaluate their job as highly valuable. They also highly value their role in children's lives (as another parent, teacher, helper, model, safe haven, etc.). The most significant difference between practising teachers and students is their perception of working conditions, where students show a more idealistic approach.

Keywords: Kindergarten teachers; Kindergarten teacher students; Perception of children; Perception of the kindergarten teacher's role

Hrvaska raziskava mnenj vzgojiteljev in studentov predsolske vzgoje o njihovi vlogi v zivljenju otrok

Renata Miljevic-Riðicki, Tea Pahic* and Marija Saric

V okviru projekta Metode in modeli v vzgoji predsolskih otrok v vrtcih, ki smo ga izvajali na fakulteti za izobrazevanje uciteljev v Zagrebu, so nas zanimali mnenja, motivacija, zadovoljstvo, pricakovanja in odnos do dela vzgojiteljev ter studentov predsolske vzgoje. V prispevku predstavljamo odgovore na dve odprti vprasanji, ki se nanasata na dojemanje vloge in pomena vzgojitelja v zivljenju otroka v obdobju predsolske vzgoje. V raziskavo je bilo vkljucenih 69 vzgojiteljev in 65 studentov prvega letnika predsolske vzgoje. Odgovarjali so na naslednji vprasanji: "Otroci so kot ..., ker ..." in "Vzgojitelji so kot ..., ker ..." Odgovore smo vsebinsko analizirali in primerjali med skupinama. Analiza je pokazala, da studentje in vzgojitelji otroke dojemajo zelo pozitivno ter da hkrati izjemno cenijo svoje delo. Izjemno cenijo tudi svojo vlogo v zivljenju otrok (kot »drug stars«, ucitelj, pomocnik, vzornik, varno zavetje itn.). Med studenti in vzgojitelji se najocitneje razlikuje njihovo mnenje o delovnih pogojih, ker studentje izkazujejo bolj idealiziran pristop.

Kljucne besede: vzgojitelji; studentje predsolske vzgoje; dojemanje otrok; dojemanje vloge vzgojitelja

Introduction

In Croatia, there have only been a small number of studies to date in the field of the profession of preschool teacher. According to the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (Ministarstvo znanosti obrazovanja i sporta Republike Hrvatske, 2013), in 2012 there were 742 public and private preschool institutions in Croatia, attended by 141,608 children. Most of these institutions are responsible for the education of children from the age of one to six or seven years, while some of them deal only with the education of children from the age of three to the age of six or seven. The number of children in the age group from one to three was 24,337, while there were 102,338 children from three to five, and 14,933 from six to seven. No preschool programme is compulsory, but it is recommended that all children be involved in one year of preschool education immediately prior to starting school. As many as 99.60% of children attend such a programme, either in a kindergarten or in the nearest school (Ministarstvo znanosti obrazovanja i sporta Republike Hrvatske, 2010). Most of these children spend 7-10 hours per day at kindergarten. Kindergarten teachers work 40 hours per week, of which 30 hours are spent in close contact with children. Although preschool teachers are required to hold a master's degree in preschool education, which provides a relatively high degree of certainty regarding their qualification for the job, it is clear that they face many different challenges that, in addition to adequate knowledge, require a great deal of commitment and motivation. …

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