Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Priorities for Developmental Areas in Early Childhood Education: A Comparison of Parents' and Teachers' Priorities

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Priorities for Developmental Areas in Early Childhood Education: A Comparison of Parents' and Teachers' Priorities

Article excerpt


The purpose of this study was to examine parents' and early childhood teachers' perceptions of the priorities for developmental areas targeted in the Turkish Early Childhood Education Curriculum for children aged 36-72 months. The sample of this study consisted of 1600 parents and 158 early childhood teachers. The study utilized a survey research design. Data were collected using an instrument designed for the study. Results indicated that parents' priority perceptions for the developmental areas targeted in the curriculum differ based on their socioeconomic status and the age and gender of their children. The findings demonstrated no significant differ- ence in teachers' priority perceptions. The results indicated congruence between parents' and teachers' priority perceptions with teachers only perceiving psychomotor development as more important than parents.

Key Words

Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Education Program, Developmental Areas, Parental Priorities, Teachers' Priorities.

Parental awareness regarding the importance of pro- viding learning opportunities that support the devel- opment of children in stimulating, structured, and developmentally appropriate environments in the early years has been raised recently (Argon & Akkaya, 2008; Tokuç & Tugrul, 2007). In parallel with this in- crease in parental awareness, although still below the rate in other developed countries, the rate of enroll- ments in preschool programs in Turkey has also risen in recent years (Bekman, 2005; Çiftçi, 2011; Derman & Ba§al, 2010). Curriculum development efforts are another indicator of the increase in the rate and qual- ity of the educational services targeting early child- hood years in Turkey. The initial academic-oriented early childhood curriculum of 1989 subsequently has been turned into a developmental curriculum in the years of 1994, 2002 and 2006 (Güler-Öztürk, 2010a). The early childhood curriculum launched in 2006 has been examined from various aspects including the approach that guided the development of the cur- riculum (Güler-Öztürk, 2010a) and the place of the content areas, such as reading-writing, health, and science and environmental education (Gülay & Ekici, 2010; Güler-Öztürk, 2010b; Kildan & Pektaç, 2009), and family involvement (Yazar, Çelik, & Kök, 2008) within the curriculum.

In addition, teachers' perceptions of the differences between the curricula developed in 2002 and 2006 were also examined (Gündogdu, Turan, Kiziltaç, Çimen, & Kayseriii, 2008). Teachers' perceptions of the comprehensibility, appropriateness, and implementability of the curriculum objectives and the difficulties teachers experience in implementing the curriculum were investigated in several studies (Durmuççelebi & Akkaya, 2011; Girgin, Ellez, Akamca, & Oguz, 2010; Kandir, Özbey, & înal, 2009). Pre service and inservice early childhood teachers' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practices (Kabadayi, 2010; McMullen et al., 2005) and educational programs have also been examined (Tanju, Darica, & Büyüköztürk, 2011). However, studies that target parents' and early childhood teachers' perceptions and the evaluations of the curriculum are limited in the literature (Altun, Çendil, & Çahin, 2011; Bertan, Haznedaroglu, Köln, Yurdakök, & Giiçiz, 2009). Moreover, examination of the parents' and teachers' priorities for the objectives of the curriculum has been neglected.

Early childhood is a sensitive period characterized with remarkable changes in cognitive, language, psychomotor, and social-emotional areas (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997). Developmental early childhood programs can contribute to the children, particularly to the children from disadvantageous environments, in making progress in these developmental areas (Bronfenbrenner, 1974; Kagitçibaçi, Sunar, & Bekman, 2001). The effect of such programs might be long lasting, even into adulthood (Campbell, Pungello, Miller- Johnson, Burchinal, & Ramey, 2001; Schweinhart, 2000). …

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