The purpose of this handbook is to compile a synthesis of landmark and contemporary research on early childhood teacher education that will complement and extend the existing research on teacher preparation, as well as articulate an agenda for future research, as there is no text currently that does this. Early childhood teacher education is a unique segment of teacher education that is defined by its focus on child development, the role of the family, and support for all learners. The preparation of teachers for early childhood education draws on a unique blend of research and theory that informs best practice for child learning and drives the learning experiences of future teachers in a way that is different from other areas of teacher education. As the first of its kind, this handbook will: articulate the unique features of early childhood teacher education; clarify the strengths and limitations of current practice based upon empirical research; and chart future directions for research to improve the preparation of early childhood educators. (author abstract)
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