Investigating early childhood curriculum and pedagogy through a three-way collaboration
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This paper examines one aspect of the university curriculum: the Professional Experience or practicum. Professional Experience has always been a pivotal and valued aspect of Teacher Education courses. However, in the contemporary Australian context many of the traditional ways of ‘doing’ the practicum are unsustainable. Two new Flinders University Early Childhood pre-service programs implement a different approach. Professional Experience in these new programs is underpinned by a partnership orientation focusing on the contributions that pre-service educators can make to young children’s learning through the pursuit of joint research. This change in the university curriculum provides the opportunity for centre/school and university staff to work in new ways and offers opportunities for mutual investigations of early childhood curriculum and pedagogy. This paper outlines examples of the contributions that pre-service educators have made within a partnership approach. Their stories demonstrate how the changed roles of the university staff, practicing early childhood educators and pre-service teachers have enabled the pursuit of significant questions about young children’s learning.