Date of Completion

Spring 5-6-2012

Thesis Advisor(s)

Anne Farrell

Honors Major

Human Development and Family Studies


Family, Life Course, and Society | Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education


Research indicates that the quality of early childhood (EC) education and care influence child development. While the developmental and educational needs of young children are clear, the characteristics of quality programs are known, and school readiness goals are well articulated, the field lacks a coherent, coordinated approach to preservice training; additionally, the ongoing professional development (PD) needs and priorities of providers are not known. This occurs amidst significant changes in the structure, funding, teacher preparation, and program objectives for CT EC programs. This study employed focus groups to explore the extent to which EC providers feel prepared to address the needs of young children (and, for program leaders, the extent to which they view providers as prepared and capable), desired professional development topics and approaches, the methods by which PD can be most conveniently and effectively held, and what EC providers view as the most significant training, PD, and support needs for the field. Eleven EC providers participated in focus group sessions that were analyzed for thematic content using NVivo version 9. This report describes 3 themes: (1) preparation for teaching, (2) professional development opportunities are often inadequate, and (3) needs for professional development. The information collected serves as a pilot for the complete project to follow.