AN INVESTIGATION OF TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF LEARNING ATTAINMENTS IN 2013 PRE-SCHOOL CURRICULUM IN PRACTICE

Education has an important role to construct the society. Each step in education contributes individual’s life at different levels. Pre-school education, which is the first step of formal education, has an important place to build the basis of education. Pre-school, which is known as nursery school, is an educational establishment that offers early education to kids under six. The period between 0-6 ages is the fastest development process for the kids. The developments the child gains during that period affect child’s learning and development abilities in his/her later years. For that reason, the importance of pre-school education should be taken into consideration. To achieve the goals in pre-school education, necessary steps and precautions should be taken.

Realizing a successful environment in pre-school education depends on preparing and implementing an effective pre-school curriculum. By implementing an effective pre-school education process, individuals may have the opportunity of developing their abilities. It helps individuals to make a good beginning for their life.

Turkey’s Ministry of National Education prepared a new pre-school curriculum in 2012. The new curriculum was first piloted in ten cities (Adana, Ankara, Ağrı, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Hatay, Mersin, İzmir, Şanlıurfa, Van) during 2012-2013 academic year. Feedback based on the pilot application, several arrangements were done and it was implemented throughout Turkey in 2012-2013 academic year. That is way it was called 2013 pre-school curriculum.

The main aim of this study is to identify pre-school teachers’ opinions on the effectiveness of learning attainments of pre-school curriculum which was put into practice in 2013-2014 academic year in practice.  Within this scope, we tried to find answers following questions:

  • What are the differences between 2013 pre-school curriculum and 2006 pre-school curriculum in terms of daily plans?
  • What are the opinions of teachers about the contributions of activity plans on children in terms of acquiring learning attainments?
  • What are the teachers’ opinions on the effect and contributions of activities included in 2013 pre-school curriculum on children?
  • What do the teachers think about the sufficiency of learning attainments in development areas included in 2013 pre-school curriculum?
  • What do the teachers think about the difficulties during practicing 2013 pre-school curriculum?
  • What are the opinions of the teachers about the problems and their solutions while implementing 2013 pre-school curriculum?
  • What do the teachers think about the difference of 2013 pre-school curriculum from previous curricula?

Qualitative research design was performed and the case study design was considered. An interview form including semi-structured questions was used to collect the data of the study. The pre-school teachers were asked to explain their opinions the effectiveness of pre-school curriculum implemented since 2013 in practice. Study group was composed of pre-school teachers working at pre-school institutions located in Batman city center. Criterion sampling, one of the techniques of purposive sampling method, was used to select the study group.  The teachers who had bachelor or MA degree were included into the study. Totally 78 teachers participated the study. Content analysis was performed to evaluate the data. To analyze the collected data N-VIVO 8 program was used.

Study results revealed that teachers were satisfied with some changes in 2013 pre-school curriculum. Teachers reported that there have been changes in activities part and new plan provided more flexibilities in practice. The teachers reported that planning and evaluating parts changed as well. The teachers complained that the new pre-school curriculum included too much activities and age level of the pupils decreased. They stated that arrangement of the classes was not suitable for the pupils and process of preparing plans were difficult. Teachers also reported that they did not have sufficient materials for effective pre-school environment. They complained that they were not informed about the curriculum effectively. One of the problems the pre-school teachers pointed was the process of preparing plans. They claimed that preparing plans took too much time. The structure of pupil groups was seen among one of the problem areas. The teachers indicated that different age groups were mixed together and that caused problems.

Based on the results of the current research, following recommendations were developed: Teachers should be included effectively into the process of curriculum development studies in pre-school education. Teachers should be given in-service education when new pre-school curriculum is implemented. During curriculum development studies, experienced teacher should participate the studies and they should share their experiences with their colleagues. Physical conditions of pre-school buildings should be improved, schools should be supported in terms of teaching materials and number of the students in crowded classes should be reduced. Families should be encouraged to participate activities based on developing social projects.

Keywords: Pre-school education, pre-school curriculum, learning attainment