Professional associations as contributors to the professional development of ECE teachers (Case from Croatia)
AbstractThis paper is a result of the assumptions of the importance of the professional development of early childhood education (ECE) teachers. Professional development is seen as a developmental process grounded in lifelong learning. While discussing the professional learning community as the optimal support in professional development, the paper discusses the role of professional associations in professional development. Aim of the research was to find teachers’ opinion whether the professional association contribute to their professional development. In order to ensure the best understanding of this problem, a research was conducted with the help of group interviews. Focus group participants were early childhood education teachers (N=6) who are also members of the Association of Preschool Educators “Krijesnice”. The analysis of the results indicated that ECE teachers highly value the need for their professional development. They also emphasize lifelong learning and motivation as prerequisites of professional development. The Association of Preschool Educators is seen as a support in professional development.