High levels of education and lifelong learning are important tools in improving the professionalism of workers of most specialties. However, they are especially valuable for representatives of several professions, and teachers, including preschool educators, are one of them. In this paper, after discussing the importance of good education for preschool teachers, we will offer an educational initiative that would help the latter to face one of the serious problems that might occur with children, child abuse, and teach them to deal with it properly.
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The Need for Highly Professional Staff in Preschools
Today, it is clear that a good education and a high level of professionalism are of crucial importance for a preschool teacher. Barnett (2004) argues that better-qualified preschool educators who have undergone specialized training can produce much higher levels of knowledge and skills in children than the teachers who did not receive a substantial education. For instance, it has been shown that students of those preschool educators who dedicated more time to the academic development show better vocabulary knowledge and stronger decoding skills at the end of their first year at school (McDonald Connor, Son, Hindman, & Morrison, 2005). A high level of teachers’ qualification leads to “major long-term educational, social, and economic benefits” that are otherwise not present (Barnett, 2004, p. 2).
According to the National Education Association (n.d.), continuous professional development is essential for teachers, because only it allows educators to keep up with the rapidly changing social and technological reality. As preschool teachers work only in the field, it is also important for their training to be job-embedded (Hunzicker, 2010, p. 4).
An Educational Initiative for Preschool Teachers: Child Abuse Management
An initiative we would like to offer is related to child abuse management in preschools for a multicultural population. Educators play a crucial role in child abuse management (Crosson-Tower, 2003). Child abuse management is a very complicated issue that is likely to cause many problems for preschool teachers, especially young and inexperienced ones. However, such a situation is even more complicated in a multicultural environment, where the contact between the teacher and the child is hindered by linguistic barriers and cultural differences.
The teachers need to have enough qualifications to both notices the problem and deal with it successfully. Therefore, it is important to provide educators with some specialized training in this issue.
We propose to create a training program that would include both theoretical and practical components. During the theoretical part, the educators would be told how to recognize the fact of child abuse of various types (psychological, physical, sexual abuse, or neglect), where the specifics of various cultures which would allow identifying the problem more effectively would be explained to them, and where they would learn how to treat such children and offer them support after the situation has been reported to the social services.
The practical part would include seminars with peers, as well as with social workers and nurses; studying cases of child abuse related to the multicultural environment; situation modeling, etc. It is important to make sure that preschool teachers understand the gravity of the problem and can recognize and prevent it if it starts taking place, or help the children who already have suffered for some time to recover.
as little as 3 hours
As we have seen, a high level of education and professionalism are essential for preschool teachers. It is also of utmost importance for dealing with such severe and, at the same time, delicate matters as child abuse. Therefore, it would be highly beneficial to organize a training program that would permit the teachers to learn how to properly manage such a situation is a difficult multicultural setting.
Barnett, W. S. (2004). Better teachers, better preschools: student achievement linked to teacher qualifications. Web.
Crosson-Tower, C. (2003). The role of educators in preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect. Web.
Hunzicker, J. (2010). Characteristics of effective professional development: a checklist. Web.
McDonald Connor, C., Son, S.-H., Hindman, A. H., & Morrison, F. (2005). Teacher qualifications, classroom practices, family characteristics, and preschool experience: Complex effects on first graders’ vocabulary and early reading outcomes. Journal of School Psychology, 43(4), 343–375. Web.
National Education Association. (n.d.). Providing ongoing professional development. Web.