ICYMI: Research-to-Practice: “Where are the Babies?”
The Research Network kicked off its series of Research-to-Practice sessions in April. These interactive sessions are an opportunity to engage early childhood workforce leaders in reflection on research supported by the Network. They aim to connect the research to practice in a collaborative and actionable format.
The first session, titled: “Where are the Babies?” was led by Jen Gilken, Jen Longley, and Jillian Crosby from the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Through an analysis of NY ECE undergraduate teacher education faculty and students. this research considered: What are best practices for working with infants and toddlers? and How are these best practices included in undergraduate programs for infants and toddlers?
Key findings shared from the research included that:
- 33% of two-year colleges and 18% of four-year colleges mentioned covering content that applied to children ages birth-to-36 months
- 12% of two-year colleges and less than 1% of four-year colleges have infant-toddler courses
- 10% of two-year colleges and 5% of four-year colleges have courses offering fieldwork with 0-3 year olds
Some powerful insights from the session participants centered around what they look for in an ideal infant-toddler teacher candidate. These qualities included: “cultural competence”, “strong knowledge of child development”, “organized”, “patient”, “flexible”, and that teachers “understand infant-toddler perspective”.
After reflecting on the research, participants also offered suggestions for next steps. These sentiments called for an increase in learning opportunities for educators. Leaders expressed a need for relevant training. One leader voiced this need and the frustration often felt when it isn’t present stating “Updated trainings with new data! Most of the information shared in PD are outdated!”
Our first Research-to-Practice session demonstrated the deep interest the workforce has in current research surrounding early childhood. It also included a strong call from leaders for more professional development opportunities. The leaders who participated in the session showcased the enthusiasm and positive attitude they expressed looking for in teachers.