THE ‘MENTORING AND LEARNING PARTNERSHIP IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE’ KEY PROJECT
A continuum of professional development from initial teacher education to working life
– Mentoring as an opportunity in early childhood education and care
The key project advances the professional development of ECEC teachers and leaders through mentoring.
The project highlights the continuum from initial ECEC teacher education to transition into the world of work and learning in working life. The focus for initial education is to develop the supervision of ECEC student teachers’ work-based learning periods. Work-based learning at day-care centres will be supervised by mentors trained on the key project’s mentor training course.
Mentors trained in the key project will also provide ECEC teachers with support during their transition into the world of work and during the early stages of their working lives. Mentors will also be trained to support the professional development of ECEC leaders.
The need to develop competencies and relevant supporting practices stems from the new and changing demands of early childhood education and care work. At the same time, ECEC leadership structures have also changed and there have been discussions about coaching the leaders.
While the significance of mentoring during the early career stages has been proven, mentoring has not as yet become an established practice in early childhood education and care. As a result, ECEC teachers have received little support while entering the world of work; nor do organisational structures provide any systematic support for those taking up ECEC leadership positions.
The significance of mentoring during the early career stages has been proven.
The key project supports the professional development of people starting out as teachers and leaders in early childhood education and care.
The project builds a continuum from initial teacher education to learning in working life.
The project places emphasis on learning partnership.
WHAT KEY PROJECT?
In January 2016, the Ministry of Education and Culture appointed the Teacher Education Forum to reform teachers’ initial education, induction training and continuing education.
The Mentoring and Learning Partnership in Early Childhood Education and Care key project was launched by the Teacher Education Forum with a view to exploring peer mentoring and its opportunities for supporting ECEC professionals during their initial education and during the early stages of their work and careers, as well as with the diversity of their profession and the world of work. The aim is to create a model to support the professional development of ECEC teachers and of those starting out as ECEC leaders and to build a continuum from initial teacher education to the world of work and learning in working life.
The key objectives are:
1) to develop supervision of work-based learning (teaching practice) during education through high-quality mentor training;
2) to support the early career stages of ECEC teachers transitioning from education to the world of work;
3) to support those taking up ECEC leadership positions and starting out in their careers.
The key project brings together ECEC students, trainers, researchers, teachers, leaders and those responsible for organising early childhood education and care in municipalities. Project cooperation is based on the Tampere sub-region’s ECEC partnership network involving six local authorities and their ECEC organisations, including staff at more than 60 day-care centres.
In keeping with the partnership network’s basic idea, mentoring is being modelled in cooperation with the worlds of work and education, through joint research and learning. The key project highlights the participants’ learning partnership and joint research into ECEC work. The steering group for the key project is responsible for providing the framework in which mentoring is organised. The key project creates new research-based practices and develops ECEC education, in-service training and mentoring practices.
As a result, the project will create a mentoring model focusing on the different stages of professional development. The model will help consolidate professional competencies, build professional identity and support the professional integration of those transitioning into the world of work. As a whole, the project will contribute to improving the quality of early childhood education and care, the outcomes of work, coping at work and the well-being of children and families.
The key project is scheduled to run from 2017 to 2020. The training programme consists of two training courses: mentor training for ECEC teachers and mentor training for ECEC leaders. The mentor training course for ECEC teachers started in the spring of 2018 and ended in the autumn of 2018. The training course for ECEC leaders started in the autumn of 2018.