Faculty Publications

Reflections On Project Work In Early Childhood Teacher Education

Document Type



Early childhood education, Field experience, Preservice teachers, Project approach

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Early Childhood Education Journal


Project approach allows early childhood teachers to use both child-initiated and teacher-facilitated instructional methods. This article describes what we learned from a study focused on project approach professional development for early childhood teachers who later served as mentor teachers during a field experience for an introductory methods course. The mentor teachers saw their role as guides and supports for early childhood preservice teachers who were placed in teams in their classrooms to implement project approach. Interviews with mentor teachers and document reviews of preservice teacher reflection papers reveal that preservice teachers gained understanding about how child engagement can be fostered through project work and the importance of working as a team. Mentor teachers wanted university faculty to take a more active role in supporting team communication, make visits to the classroom and situate project work in a field experience with enough hours to get to know the children and fully develop each phase of the project. Implications for early childhood teacher educators seeking to incorporate project work in preservice field experiences are shared.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version