Early childhood educator' perspectives on how infants and toddlers learn: Australia and China

M. Li, B. Nyland, K. Margetts, Y. Guan
2017 International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy  
The purpose of this project was to identify how two groups of early childhood educators, in Australia and China, perceive participation as a significant part of the process of infant and toddler learning in the group care context. This research has implications for the sharing of early childhood education ideas across contexts and the quality of provision for children under-3 years in early childhood and care environments. As a part of an on-going comparative study (Brostrom et al. 2012
more » ... m et al. , 2014 that has undertaken similar research in Denmark, Abstract This paper is an exploratory study to identify similarities and differences between two groups of early childhood educator' perceptions of how infants and toddlers learn in the contexts of Australia and China. Researchers have demonstrated the importance of high-quality education programs for children in the first 3 years and evidence now exists that these learning experiences can be enhanced when programs include infant and toddler participatory practices. The concept of participation for infants and toddlers was the focus of the data collection. To investigate educator's perceptions of children's participation in their own learning was the aim of this research with a purpose of conducting a comparative study on the sharing of knowledge, attitudes and practices across the two contexts. The study was based on a theoretical understanding of learning and participation grounded in socio/cultural theories on the importance of context and the social nature of learning. An anonymous survey was conducted with educators working with infants and toddlers in early childhood services in the two countries. Results were similar for many of the survey questions with two significant areas of difference, relationships with parents and the role of creative activities in children's learning. These results have been discussed against the infant/toddler education and care literature and contextual information from both countries. Discussion focuses on educator' perceptions of how children learn and what is participation in these early years. The findings have implications for the training of educators working with infants and toddlers and for the design of early childhood programs for our very youngest. Open Access © The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
doi:10.1186/s40723-017-0035-9 fatcat:3vlazbmn5be7pjdvmdmrjydj5a