How Professional Development Directly Impacts The Quality Of Early Childhood Education
Introduction of the Problem According to Young (2012), early childhood education has gained a renewed interest over the past few years focusing on elevating the quality of early childhood programs throughout the nation (p. 5). In the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Public Policy Report (2012), Strategic Directions: Technical Assistance Professional in State Early Childhood Professional Development Systems, professional development is identified as essential to increasing the professional knowledge and skills of early childhood educators (Young, 2012, p. 5). As educators increase their professional knowledge and skills, it ultimately impacts the quality of early childhood programs (Cunningham, Zibulsky, Callahan, 2009, p.496-497). Zaslow and Martinez-Beck (2006) identified the need to understand how professional development directly impacts the quality of early childhood education.
Background, Context, and Theoretical Framework
This qualitative action research study is based on the theoretical frameworks of Vygotsky (1978), Hord (1997) and Bandura (1977). In alignment with Vygotsky’s (1978) socio-cultural theory, professional learning proponents (DuFour, DuFour, and Eaker, 2008; Hord, 1997) view the social aspect of learning as essential to individual cognitive development. In a national study conducted by Birman, Desimone, Porter, and Grant (2000), they found “teachers whose professional development includes opportunities…