Rural Parents Perceptions and Values and How They May Contribute to a More Contextually Based Early Childhood Program
The preservice training of early childhood professionals prepares teachers to work with young children, but rarely does it incorporate aspects of rural education nor is it specifically designed to prepare graduates for work in rural communities (Higgins, 1993; Bloodsworth, 1994; Kirk, 1994). Many of the initial employment opportunities available to graduates exist in rural areas. How well prepared are these generically trained teachers to undertake work in rural early childhood services? Are there aspects to rural communities that differ from urban contexts? This study investigates the perceptions and values of parents accessing a rural early childhood service. It attempts to illuminate what values are held by parents that could impact on how programs are developed, what expectations they have for their child in this service and in education generally. It would seem that there are distinctive and consistent values that could influence program design and delivery as well as implications for tertiary institutions in the way they train preservice teachers for work in rural communities.
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