With an unprecedented number of children in early childhood education and care in Australia, demand for early childhood teachers is increasing. This demand is in the context of recognition of the importance of the early years and increasing requirements for more highly qualified early childhood teachers under the National Quality Framework. Increasingly, evidence shows the value-added difference of university-qualified teachers to child outcomes. Within Australia there are multiple ways to become an early childhood teacher. Three common approaches are a 4-year teaching degree to teach children aged birth to 5 years, children aged birth to 8 years, or children aged birth to 12 years. There is, however, no evidence of how effective these degree programmes are. This paper presents the perspectives of 19 employers of early childhood teachers in New South Wales regarding how well prepared early childhood teacher graduates are to work in the early childhood sector in Australia. Although participants noted the strengths of new graduate early childhood teachers, they also identified several areas in which they were less well prepared to teach in the early years.
- early childhood workforce
- early childhood teachers
- quality early childhood education and care