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The role of practice-based experiences in undergraduates’ infant/toddler caregiving competencies


In this study we used an online survey to investigate how undergraduates’ practice-based experiences, both educational and work-related, influence their knowledge about young children’s development and aspects of their infant/toddler (I/T) caregiving skills over the course of an academic term (e.g., semester). At the beginning of the term, we found that both formal and informal work experience supported undergraduates’ (N = 1302) knowledge of I/T development, and that prior practicum coursework was significantly associated with both knowledge of I/T development and caregiving skills, as assessed by responses to caregiving vignettes. At the end of the term, predictors of change in undergraduates’ (N = 952) skills for working with young children were enrollment in a second or later practicum course and formal work experience. In contrast, informal work experience was associated with change in knowledge of I/T development. Implications for I/T teacher preparation within higher education are discussed. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

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