Finnish Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of Perceived Competence in Early Childhood Physical Education
Soini, A., Watt, A., & Sääkslahti, A. (2021). Finnish Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of Perceived Competence in Early Childhood Physical Education. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(12), Article 6454. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126454
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Early childhood education and care (ECEC) teachers have a central role in supporting young children’s physical activity (PA) and overall development in the early years. However, the value of early childhood education teacher training (ECETT) programmes is not widely understood. This study aimed to investigate pre-service teachers’ perceptions of perceived competence when (1) supporting a child’s PA, (2) teaching PE, and (3) observing and assessing a child’s motor skills and PA. These self-evaluations were compared with a range of individual, educational, and behavioural characteristics. Final-year Bachelor degree pre-service teachers (n = 274; 54%) from seven universities in Finland participated in the self-report questionnaire. The results of the linear regression models showed that the relevant PE studies and previous experiences of pre-service teachers predicted higher perceived competence of supporting a child’s PA, teaching PE, and observing and assessing a child’s motor skills and PA. Thus, the study findings demonstrated how teacher training could positively influence perceptions and attitudes to increase a person’s perceived competence when implementing PE in the early years. Overall, results reinforce the importance of PE in ECETT, and the time devoted to this syllabus area should be maintained or increased. ...
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