Building Capacity: Strategic Professional Development for Early Childhood Practitioners
1 Jan 2006
Cengage Learning Australia
The Early Childhood Consortium Victoria (ECCV) at The University of Melbourne, has developed a Self-Assessment Manual (SAM) designed as an instrument for early childhood practitioners and undergraduate early childhood students to use in reflecting and mapping out a professional development pathway in a systematic way. The SAM instrument promotes individual professional development through guided reflection and self assessment and engages participants in reviewing and clarifying their own professional practice with support. Using guided reflection, SAM works towards empowering participants to search and discover what they may have stopped seeing or are unable to see in their own practice. SAM serves the dual purposes of addressing issues of service quality, as well as promoting individual professional development through reflective practice. SAM comprises of four sections, and by working through these sections participants will be involved in: self-directed learning; guided reflection and interactive discussion. SAM has been modelled around six major theoretical perspectives that will be familiar to early childhood professionals and undergraduate early childhood teachers: the Maturational, Behaviourism, Psycho-dynamic, Developmental, Socio-constructivist and Ecological Systems perspectives. These perspectives and styles of practice are embedded within a framework that enables participants to track their practice across three dimensions commonly found in quality measures: the Environment, Pedagogy and Partnerships. The framework provides the basis for observing and informing practice. The five principles which have guided SAM's development have been to focus on excellence in early childhood service delivery, to develop a theoretically sound framework, to make the instrument user-friendly, to incorporate guided reflection and to design an instrument that allows participants to view professional development in a planned way that empowers participants.