American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Educational Research. 2015, 3(6), 770-782
DOI: 10.12691/education-3-6-17
Open AccessArticle

Outcomes of Community-Based Infant/ Toddler Teacher Preparation: Tiered Supports for Pre-service early Childhood Education Teachers in Early Head Start

Adam S. Kennedy1, and Anna Lees2

1School of Education, Loyola University Chicago, USA

2Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University, USA

Pub. Date: May 29, 2015

Cite this paper:
Adam S. Kennedy and Anna Lees. Outcomes of Community-Based Infant/ Toddler Teacher Preparation: Tiered Supports for Pre-service early Childhood Education Teachers in Early Head Start. American Journal of Educational Research. 2015; 3(6):770-782. doi: 10.12691/education-3-6-17


This study examined results associated with a field-based undergraduate early childhood teacher education program designed as a response to calls for enhanced field experiences and community-situated teacher education that narrows the preparation-to-practice gap. Specifically, classroom observations were used to assess undergraduates’ progress in developmentally appropriate adult-child interaction during a portion of a semester-long professional preparation sequence focused on infants and toddlers offered in an urban Early Head Start program serving low-income children. During the sequence, a model relying on guided apprenticeship with classroom teachers and continuous direct supervision from university faculty was employed. In addition, a tiered model including universal, targeted, and intensive supports was implemented in order to support candidates in identifying and developing specific areas of need. The participants in this study demonstrated greater responsivity and intentional engagement with infants and toddlers as a result of this intensive preparation sequence. Participants who did not show an initial increase in skills responded to targeted and and/or intensive intervention strategies. This model suggests that by refocusing early childhood teacher preparation through a lens of partnership between EHS teachers, university faculty, and early childhood special education (ECSE) teacher candidates, significant gains in developmentally appropriate practice can be achieved even for candidates early in a preparation program.

teacher education early childhood multi-tiered systems of support infants and toddlers Early Head Start

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Adams, S. K., & Wolf, K. (2008). Strengthening the preparation of early childhood teacher candidates through performance-based assessments. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 29(1), 6-29.
[2]  American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. (2004). The early childhood challenge: Preparing high-quality teachers for a changing society. Retrieved August 1, 2012 from
[3]  American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (2010). 21st century knowledge and skills in educator preparation. Retrieved August 1, 2012 from
[4]  Ammentorp, L., & Madden, L. (2014). Partnered lacements: Creating and supporting successful collaboration among preservice teachers. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 35(2), 135-149.
[5]  Baker, R. S., & Milner, J. O. (2006). Complexities of collaboration: Intensity of mentors' responses to paired and single student teachers. Action in Teacher Education, 28(3), 61-72.
[6]  Ball, D., & Cohen, D. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. In L. Darling-Hammond & G. Sykes (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession (pp. 3-32). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[7]  Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 17(1), 32-42.
[8]  Brown, C. P., & Feger, B. (2010). Examining the challenges early childhood teacher candidates face in figuring their roles as early educators. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 31(4), 286-306.
[9]  Bullough, J. R. V., Young, J., Birrell, J. R., Cecil, C. D., Winston, E. M., Erickson, L., Frankovich, M., & Welling, M. (2003). Teaching with a peer: A comparison of two models of student teaching. Teaching & Teacher Education, 19(1), 57-73.
[10]  Caruso, J. J., & Fawcett, M. T. (2006). Supervision in early childhood education: A developmental perspective (Third edition). New York: Teachers College Press.
[11]  Certo, J. L. (2006). Beginning teacher concerns in an accountability-based testing environment. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 20(4), 331-349.
[12]  Clifford, J. R., Macy, M. G., Albi, L. D., Bricker, D. D., & Rahn, N. L. (2005). A model of clinical supervision for preservice professionals in early intervention and early childhood special education. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 25(3), 167-176.
[13]  Darling-Hammond, L. (1994). Professional development schools: Schools for developing a profession. Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027.
[14]  Darling-Hammond, L., & Baratz-Snowden, J. (Eds.). (2007). A good teacher in every classroom: Preparing the highly qualified teachers our children deserve. Educational Horizons, 85(2), 111-132.
[15]  Division of Early Childhood (2014). DEC recommended practices in early intervention/early childhood special education 2014. Retrieved from
[16]  Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), & National Head Start Association (NHSA). 2013. Frameworks for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood: Description and Implications. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from
[17]  Early, D. M., & Winton, P. J. (2001). Preparing the workforce: Early childhood teacher preparation at 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 16 (3), 285-306.
[18]  Feistritzer, E. (2007). Preparing teachers for the classroom: The role of the higher education act and no child left behind. Testimony to the Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness. US House of Representatives.
[19]  Freedman, S. W., & Appleman, D. (2009). “In it for the long haul”—How teacher education can contribute to teacher retention in high-poverty, urban schools. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(3), 323-337.
[20]  Fukkink, R. G., & Lont, A. (2007). Does training matter? A meta-analysis and review of caregiver training studies. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22(3), 294-311.
[21]  Gall, M. D., & Acheson, K. A. (2010). Clinical supervision and teacher development (6th edition). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.
[22]  Gardiner, W., & Robinson, K. S. (2011). Peer field placements with preservice teachers: Negotiating the challenges of professional collaboration. Professional Educator, 35(2), 1-11.
[23]  Greenwood, C.R., Bradfield, T., Kaminski, R., Linas, M., Carta, J.J., & Nylander, D. (2011). The Response to Intervention (RTI) approach in early childhood. Focus on Exceptional Children, 43(9), 1-22.
[24]  Hatch, J. A., & Benner, S. M. (2009). From the editors: Positionings and possibilities for early childhood teacher education. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 30, 91-92.
[25]  Herzenberg, S., Price, M., & Bradley, D. (2005). Losing ground in early childhood education: Declining workforce qualifications in an expanding industry, 1979-2004. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.
[26]  Heineke, A., Kennedy, A.S., & Lees, A. (2013). Preparing early childhood professionals for the culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms and communities of Illinois. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 15(2).
[27]  Illinois State Board of Education (2013).Illinois early learning guidelines for children birth to age three.
[28]  Illinois State Board of Education (2013). Standards for certification in early childhood education.
[29]  Kennedy, A., & Heineke, A. (2014). Re-envisioning the role of universities in early childhood teacher preparation: Partnerships for 21st century learning. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. 35, 226-243.
[30]  Kennedy, A.S., & Lees, A. (2014). Merging professional preparation and development through blended practices and a tiered approach in Early Head Start. In Pretti-Frontczak, K., Grisham-Brown, J., & Sullivan, L. (Eds.), Young Exceptional Children Monograph 16 - Blending Practices to Strengthen Quality Early Learning Programs for ALL Children. Los Angeles: Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.
[31]  Kruger, T., & Teaching Australia - Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2009). Effective and sustainable university-school partnerships: Beyond determined efforts by inspired individuals. Canberra: Teaching Australia– Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.
[32]  LaParo, K., Hamre, B., & Pianta, R. (2012). Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Manual, Toddler. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
[33]  LaParo, K., Thomason, A., Maynard, C., & Scott-Little, C. (2012). Developing teachers’ classroom interactions: A description of a video review process for early childhood education students. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 33, 224-238.
[34]  Labaree, D. (2010). Teach for America and teacher ed: Heads they win, tails we lose. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 48-55.
[35]  Lim, C. I., & Able-Boone, H. (2005). Diversity competencies within early childhood teacher preparation: Innovative practices and future directions. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 26(3), 225-238.
[36]  McDonald, M., Tyson, K., Brayko, K., Bowman, M., Delport, J., & Shimomura, F. (2011). Innovation and impact in teacher education: Community-based organizations as field placements for preservice teachers. Teachers College Record, 113(8), 1668-1700.
[37]  Murrell Jr, P. C. (2000). Community teachers: A conceptual framework for preparing exemplary urban teachers. Journal of Negro Education, 69(4), 338-48.
[38]  Myers, D. M., Simonsen, B., & Sugai, G. (2011). Increasing teachers' use of praise with a response-to-intervention approach. Education and treatment of children, 34(1), 35-59.
[39]  National Association for the Education of Young Children (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from
[40]  National Association for the Education of Young Children (2009). Where we stand on professional preparation standards: A position statement. Retrieved June 14, 2014 from
[41]  National Child Care Information Center (2008). State requirements for minimum preservice qualifications and annual ongoing training hours for child care center teachers and master teachers in 2007. Retrieved from:
[42]  National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (2010). Transforming teacher education through clinical practice: A national strategy to prepare effective teachers (Report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning). Washington, DC: Author.
[43]  NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2002). Early child care and children’s development prior to school entry: Results from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care. American Educational Research Journal, 39(1), 133-164.
[44]  National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center [NECTAC]. (2012). Response to Intervention in Early Childhood. Retrieved from:
[45]  Norris, D. (2010). Raising the educational requirements for teachers in infant toddler classrooms: Implications for institutions of higher education. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 31(2), 146-158.
[46]  Office of Head Start. (2013a) Improving teacher-child interactions: Using the CLASS in Head Start preschool programs. Retrieved on October 23, 2014 from
[47]  Office of Head Start. (2013b). A national overview of grantee CLASS scores in 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from
[48]  Rust, F. (2010). Shaping new models for teacher education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 37(2), 5-18.
[49]  Ryan, A. Ensminger, D., Heineke, A., Kennedy, A. S., Prasse, D., & Smetana, L. (2014). Teaching, Learning, and Leading with Schools and Communities: One urban university re-envisions teacher preparation for the next generation. Issues in Teacher Education, 22(2), 139-153.
[50]  Smith, J. (2004). Developing paired teaching placements. Educational Action Research, 12(1), 99-126.
[51]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). About Early Head Start. Retrieved from
[52]  VoiceThread LLC (2007-2014). Home Page. Retrieved from
[53]  Walker, H.M., & Shinn, M.R. (2010). Systematic, evidence-based approaches for promoting positive student outcomes within a multi-tier-framework. In Interventions for achievement and behavior problems in a three-tier model including RTI (M.R. Shinn & H.M. Walker, Eds.), 1-26. Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.
[54]  Winton, P. J. (2010). Professional development and quality initiatives: Two essential components of an early childhood system. In P. W. Wesley & V. Buysse (Eds.), The quest for quality: Promising innovations for early childhood programs. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
[55]  Zeichner, K. (2006). Reflections of a university-based teacher educator on the future of college-and university-based teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 57(3), 326-340.
[56]  Zeichner, K. (2010). Rethinking the connections between campus courses and field experiences in college- and university-based teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2) 81-99.