Early Childhood Teachers' Perception of Appropriate Multicultural Literary Materials for Their Urban Pre-school Classes
Demand for the reform of education in the United States has been a continuing theme. As this country continues to become more diverse, the need for understanding and accepting the differences and connections among all people has never been more important (Sleeter & Grant, 1991). Thus, the challenge for educators is to help all children learn to understand and accept others in a more diverse society. Banks (1994) mentions that teachers need sound knowledge about the history and culture of different ethnic groups in order to successfully integrate ethnic content into the school curriculum. He explains that teachers need skills for teaching ethnic content and working with a multicultural population. The cultural and societal contexts in which children and teachers live requires learning environments that allow both to hypothesize, investigate, experiment, and construct new understandings of themselves and others with whom they work (New, 1992). The purpose of this study was to examine early childhood teachers' perception of appropriate multicultural literature, to examine early childhood teachers' perceptions of their ability to evaluate and select appropriate multicultural literary materials, and, finally, to examine the extent to which early childhood educators feel confident in the selection of multicultural literary materials. The research design selected for this study was a non-experimental survey methodology. The Multicultural Knowledge/Attitude Survey instrument used for this study was prepared by Lechner & Barry (1997), at Auburn University. The sample consisted of 92 early childhood teachers from 10 urban pre-school programs in the Greater Hartford Area in state of Connecticut. The findings suggest training objectives for early childhood teacher preparation programs that expand students' knowledge, and develop their ability and skills necessary for the implementation of multicultural education.
Keywords: Early childhood education, Multicultural education, Multicultural literary materials
Dr Cima Sedigh
Assistant Professor of Education, Department of Education, Sacred Heart University